Latest suppression patrol targets Castaic “transient area”

"Suppression Patrol" team converges on an section of Castaic Road Friday. photo courtesty Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station.


After two consecutive days of successful “suppression patrols” carried out across the SCV, the team specially struck for the operation turned their attention to Castaic this past weekend, netting more arrests.

Since the beginning of the month, Sgt. Brandon Barclay of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff Station and his four-man “Summer Suppression Patrol” team have issued more than 70 citations for misdemeanor offences in addition to out-and-out arrests.

It’s a zero-tolerance approach to crime, he said.

“The citations are for panhandling, loitering, for people speeding,” Barclay said, listing examples of petty crime. “It’s to show there’s enforcement out there.”

On Friday, a “suppression patrol” of Castaic Road resulted in the arrest of two parolees, on suspicion they were found violating conditions of their parole. Specifically, the men were found drinking in a car.

“There were from out of the county, hanging out together. They were parolees from Victorville,” Barclay said.

As with “suppression patrols” carried out each of the two nights prior to Friday’s operation, the area along Castaic Road became the latest area identified as having a high incidence of crime.

“Since we’ve had so many thefts from a local storage area here, we felt the need to be out there,” Barclay said.

“It’s a transient area,” he said. “A lot of persons from out of town come here thinking they can loiter, smoke dope, drink in front of a store, so now when they see us they’ll know that we’re out there in full effect.

“It sends a positive message to the community and, at the same time, people breaking the law know that we’re watching them,” he said.

Captain Robert Lewis initiated the suppression patrol soon after stepping into SCV’s top cop position about four months ago. The first suppression patrol went into effect in May, netting three arrests.

The idea behind the “suppression patrol” strategy was to identity areas showing a higher incidence of crime and then dispatch a team of patrol deputies to concentrate on those areas.

The stretch of Castaic Road, between Castaic Lake Road and Ridge Route Road became the most recently identified high crime area in need of having crime suppressed.

“By becoming highly visible there should be less drinking in public, no drinking and driving and less potential, for example, for fights to break out, if we’re visible,” Barclay said.

“And, we’ll be out there next week,” he said.

The stretch of road singled out in Friday’s operation was the scene of intense law enforcement activity in August when William “Bicycle Bill” Armond Bowers, 51, was shot and killed on Castaic Road by a deputy.

The fatal shooting is still being investigated.

In “suppression patrols” carried out both Wednesday and Thursday, the specialized team made multiple arrests each night.

The “suppression patrol” team arrested nine people Wednesday night, disrupting a burglary and thwarting a robbery while each of the respective crimes were unfolding.

The mid-week operation came on the heels of a successful patrol strategy which saw the arrest of a dozen suspects earlier this month.

“It’s about being in the right place at the right time,” Deputy Chris Craft, spokesman for the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station told The Signal Thursday.

On Thursday night, the suppression team rolled out again – and, again, disrupted a burglary in progress.

Earlier this month, deputies enjoyed a similar success with a suppression patrol carried out in parts of Newhall, Canyon Country, and Saugus on June 1.

In that operation, a dozen suspected criminals including one woman were arrested, with charges ranging from drug possession and sales to weapons charges.

One individual was arrested with a large quantity of methamphetamine with the intent to sell. Another suspect wanted for a burglary was located and arrested.

In May, deputies carried out “suppression patrols” in response to a rash of overnight commercial burglaries.

Deputies made at least three arrests and halted what they believe to have been a continuing crime trend.

In reporting the success of May’s “suppression patrols” directive, Miller said: “The SCV Sheriff’s station plans to continue with the “suppression patrols.”

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