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New VV City Fire Department On-Track for March 30 launch

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Firefighter/Paramedics Cormac O’Connell and John Van Such at the Swearing In Ceremony for the re-established Victorville Fire Department. (City of Victorville)

VICTORVILLE, Calif. – The City of Victorville recently hosted a Swearing In Ceremony for its re-established Victorville Fire Department.  During the ceremony, 50 line personnel including the department’s captains, engineers and firefighter/paramedics took the oath of office and received their service badges.

“Our fire personnel bring with them a wealth of experience and skill that will benefit Victorville,” said City Manager Keith Metzler.”  “They were chosen from an applicant pool of more than 250 applicants and following rigorous testing and background evaluations.” 

As with tradition, each fire department member was joined on stage by one family member for the ceremonial badge pinning.  During the Ceremony, held at the Hilton Garden Inn on March 13, Victorville Mayor, Gloria Garcia took time to welcome the fire personnel and their family members to the Victorville City Family.  “With your support we build a strong fire department and a strong Victorville,” said Mayor Garcia.  “We are proud to call you our Victorville Fire Department.”

The Victorville Fire Department is staffed with 60 personnel.  The department is led by Fire Chief Greg Benson who was selected following a nationwide search approximately one year ago.  Division Chief Fred Stout, three battalion chiefs and the department’s training captain reported for duty in October 2018.  Together, the command staff possesses more than 100 years of experience.  The department’s line personnel first reported for duty on January 2, 2019.  Since that time, they have been training together to develop team cohesion and prepare for the department’s go live date on March 30. 

The department is taking extra steps to ensure a smooth transition on March 30.  At the official cutover time of 8 a.m. on opening day, all 60 fire personnel will be on duty rather than a typical shift 18 personnel.  

“March 30 will be the first time our fire personnel will be operating in our fire stations and using our equipment, so we plan to have extra fire personnel and City staff on-hand to provide support and tend to any issues with equipment, vehicles and facilities,” said Victorville Fire Chief, Greg Benson.  “This added support will enable our line personnel to focus on our number one mission of providing for the safety of our Victorville community.”

The department will also have a chief officer in the Confire command center to facilitate emergency 9-1-1 dispatching, and a chief officer will be supervising work at each fire station.

In order to operate a more efficient and cost-effective fire service, the Victorville City Council authorized the re-establishment of the Victorville Fire Department in January 2018 after contracting the service for 10 years. Additional benefits of a city-run fire department include local control, workforce development and strong community connections.

Firefighter/Paramedic Jonathan Trovato pictured with his daughter at the Swearing In Ceremony for the re-established Victorville Fire Department. (City of Victorville)
Firefighter/Paramedic Jonathan Trovato pictured with his daughter at the Swearing In Ceremony for the re-established Victorville Fire Department. (City of Victorville)

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(source: City of Victorville news release)

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State and San Bernardino County OK resumption of youth sports – with restrictions

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SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — The State Department of Public Health has issued long-anticipated guidance allowing youth sports and physical education – including school-based, club, and recreational programs – to resume, as long as they are limited to groups of participants who regularly gather, such as a class or organized team, and only when physical distancing of at least six feet can be maintained.

Activities should take place outside to the maximum extent possible.

Sporting events, assemblies, and other activities that require close contact or that would promote congregating, such as tournaments and competitions, are not yet permitted either indoors or outdoors.

“This is an opportunity for young people to stay healthy, stay in shape, and be ready when the State allows team and other group activities to resume,” said San Bernardino County Public Health Director Corwin Porter. The County Health Officer has approved implementation of the guidance within San Bernardino County.

(San Bernardino County Health news release)

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18-year-old U.S. Army Reservist Stationed at Ft. Irwin arrested on child porn charges

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FORT IRWIN, Calif. (VVNG.com) — An 18-year-old reserve with the United States Army National Guard stationed at Fort Irwin was arrested for possession of child pornography Wednesday, officials said.

Detectives from multiple agencies conducted a joint investigation involving the suspect, Neal McCoy, a resident of Fridley, Minnesota, and subsequently arrested him on Wednesday, August 5, 2020.

McCoy was booked at the High Desert Detention Center for PC 311.11(A) Possession of Child Pornography with a bail set at $100,000. McCoy is scheduled for arraignment on August 7th.

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, Specialized Investigations Division Crimes Against Children Detail (CAC), Barstow Sheriff’s Station, and the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) worked together in their investigation.

In January 2020, VVNG reported on similar arrests after Steven Berg, 38, was arrested by investigators who determined that child pornography was distributed from a home within the base at Fort Irwin.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact Detective Brian Arias of the Specialized Investigations Division, Crimes Against Children Detail at (909) 387-3615. Callers wishing to remain anonymous may call the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or you may leave information on the We-Tip Hotline at www.wetip.com.

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18-year-old out on bail arrested again after a pursuit in Victorville

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VICTORVILLE, Calif. (VVNG.com) — An 18-year-old out on bail was arrested again after leading Victorville deputies on a pursuit.

At about 2:28 AM on August 6, 2020, a deputy from the Victorville Police Station observed a vehicle run a red light at Amargosa and Palmdale Roads and attempted a traffic stop.

The driver, identified as Antoine Jackson, of Victorville, failed to yield and led deputies on a pursuit for approximately 7 miles, officials said.

During the pursuit, Jackson drove at high speeds, exceeding 100 mph at times. He also drove in opposing traffic lanes and ran several red lights and stop signs.

The pursuit came to an end in the 12500 block of Terrano when Jackson crashed into a parked car.

Jackson, who was out on bail from a July 28, 2020 arrest, was arrested and booked at High Desert Detention Center for VC2800.2(A) Evading a Peace Officer with disregard for safety and PC12022.1(B) New Felony Offense while on bail.

His bail is set at $100,000 and is scheduled for arraignment in a Victorville courtroom on August 10, 2020.

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