Harris announces candidacy for SBC sheriff
Likely to face McMahon, Schrader
VICTORVILLE • A former Riverside County and San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputy recently announced his candidacy for San Bernardino County Sheriff.
Clifton L. Harris, who has been a resident of the county since 1963, is likely to face Sheriff John McMahon and challenger Paul Schrader in next year’s election.
Harris served with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department from 1974 to 1990. He then worked for the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department before retiring in 1998. He is currently a California licensed private investigator and holds a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of La Verne.
Harris, whose campaign office will be based in Victorville, said in a Thursday news release that he is running to bring diversity and equality to the department and to “break the cycle” of “nepotism” and “plain old cronyism.”
“Why is it that time and time again we get an appointed sheriff?” Harris asked in his news release. “These decisions were not from the consent of the governed.”
McMahon, the incumbent, is a former assistant sheriff who was unanimously appointed by the Board of Supervisors on Dec. 31.
McMahon, who lives with his wife and two daughters in Phelan, began his career with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department in 1985 at the Needles station after graduating from Apple Valley High School in 1982.
Prior to becoming assistant sheriff, McMahon served as a deputy chief of the desert patrol stations as well as the detentions and corrections bureau, overseeing four jail facilities. He served as the captain of the Apple Valley Station for four years until 2007.
McMahon has an associate’s degree in police science from Victor Valley College and was inducted into the VVC Alumni Hall of Fame in 2007. He has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice management from Union University.
“We have faced some challenging times in our county,” McMahon said. “We’ve done an outstanding job with AB109.”
McMahon said has a plan in place to deal with issues surrounding overcrowding in jails due to AB109, the state prison realignment bill that has forced counties to house and oversee more inmates.
“We cannot build our way out of this problem — we can’t afford to,” McMahon said. “We have to deal with it through rehabilitation programs.”
Homelessness continues to be an issue for the county, one that McMahon is committed to changing.
Project H.O.P.E. is a county program through the Department of Behavioral Health that provides housing services and case management to people who are suffering because of substance abuse or mental health issues.
“The project is showing great promise,” McMahon said. “We want to continue that.”
Schrader is a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputy and former small business owner. An Arkansas native, Schrader served as a military police officer in the U.S. Marine Corps and later worked as an undercover narcotics operative for the Naval Investigative Intelligence Service. He spent the next 29 years working in city, county and federal law enforcement, according to his campaign website.
Schrader, whose campaign is based in Rancho Cucamonga, said he is running for sheriff because he wants to defend the rights of people and uphold the constitution, in particular the Second Amendment.
The release of AB109 probationers is a concern for Schrader, who supports the right of citizens to protect themselves.
“There will be times when you are vulnerable and you should be able to protect yourself,” Schrader said. “Crime will go down in several areas. Anyone who is able to carry a concealed weapon should be able to.”
Schrader said he did not support the sheriff’s department’s recent gun buyback program.
“The federal government is working hard to prevent people from having firearms,” he said. “I want to change that.”
The filing period for the June 3 election begins Feb. 10 and continues through March 7, according to Audilia Lozada, communications manager for the county Registrar of Voters.
Rebecca Howes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 760-951-6276.