Delano police officers along with agents from Kern County Probation, state parole and other police agencies made mid-afternoon house calls to some Delano residents who just happened to be on parole and probation.
The enforcement was part of the Street Interdiction Team, a multi-departmental law enforcement task force consisting of numerous law enforcement agencies throughout the County of Kern. SIT periodically plans and operates enforcement teams in different regional areas to address specific community needs.
SIT operates in Kern County cities such as Arvin, Bakersfield, California City, Delano, McFarland, Ridgecrest, Shafter, Taft, and Tehachapi.
To be most effective and address street-level crime, SIT does the following:
- Focuses on improving collaborations with law enforcement agencies throughout Kern County
- Establishes front-line operations in cities and towns throughout Kern County
- Meets on a monthly basis to discuss current AB 109 activities and impacts
Since fiscal year 2015-16, the SIT program has had a total of 14 operations in Delano and hundreds in other Kern County communities.
Delano Police Chief Robert Nevarez said that SIT operations are incredibly useful in Delano.
"We are able to gather 60-90 officers to proactively address parolees, probationers and gang members," Nevarez said. "This forced multiplier, allows us to more expansively prevent crime."
During the June 27 visits, Kern County deputy district attorneys were also on hand, because they prosecute the crimes, said Sgt. Mario Nunez, who drove around Delano each time the five teams of 13 assorted officers apprehended someone.
In all, 24 people on probation or parole were located, according to Nunez.
Eight of whom were arrested on suspicion of various violations: one firearm was confiscated, one live 38-caliber round was found, one spent bullet casing for a 9mm firearm was located and two bindles of methamphetamine were recovered.
During the operation, a social media videographer showed up at some of the locations and attempted to taunt officers into a confrontation, Nevarez said.
"I’m pleased to report our officers responded professionally and politely," he added.
The chief also pointed out that rumors had surfaced on social media that the June 27 sweep was part of an U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement operation, pointing at the the clearly marked Delano, McFarland and Taft police vehicles, along with California Department of Corrections, Kern County Probation.
"These rumors are completely false," Nevarez said. "The Delano Police Department has not and will not be working with ICE."
Nunez said one man not actually part of the sweep also believed that the officers were part of an ICE raid.
The subject ran and was caught by officers. A record check revealed he had some outstanding warrants, Nunez said.
"He is going to jail tonight," he added.
The operation was set for mid-afternoon just to change things up, Nunez said.
"They are expecting early morning raids," he said. "So, right now it's hot outside, and people are inside chillin'."
After several stops in Delano, on both the east and west sides, Nunez noted that people think "we are just doing this on the west side, but we are all over town."
On one east-side stop, this reporter walked into a garage of one of the intended subjects, and you could smell wafts of marijuana.
"I think most people think we are looking to make a bunch of arrests when we do this," Nunez said. "But we would rather have no arrests, because that would show that these folks are in compliance with their probation or parole conditions."