VICTORVILLE — Law enforcement can't combat crime effectively without input from its community, and Michael Stevens aims to help in any way he can.

The Adelanto city spokesman recently spoke with the Daily Press about his participation in the “Sheriff’s Information Exchange Committee,” a group including San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon and several community leaders from throughout the county that meets multiple times a year.

Stevens’ first appearance was at the committee’s Aug. 2 meeting, which took place at Sheriff’s Headquarters in San Bernardino. About 60 to 70 various community leaders, Sheriff’s personnel and community members were in attendance, Stevens said.

“The impression I got is that it was the chance for the sheriff to address citizens and tell them, 'This is what we’re doing to combat crime in the High Desert and in the county,'” Stevens said. “It gives us a chance to get a better understanding of how the department operates and what they do to deal with criminals.”

According to Lt. Sarkis Ohannessian, the committee, which is by invitation only, meets two to three times a year to exchange information on contemporary issues and the sheriff’s position on various topics that can impact a community.

“The sheriff believes the citizens of this county should have direct access to him,” Ohannessian said.

This interconnectivity is the key to these meetings, with Stevens touting the committee’s ability to “facilitate two-way conversations” between the Sheriff’s Department and the communities it services.

“No one there is shy — it’s no holds barred, there are no limits. If you want answers to your questions, you will get them,” Stevens said, describing the meeting. “We can take questions to the Sheriff’s Department and get uncensored responses.”

Several current efforts, such as the Sheriff’s Gang Suppression units — which routinely conduct sweeps throughout the region — other sweeps conducted with the probation department, substance abuse and job placement programs, and other efforts were discussed during the recent meeting.

“I left the meeting and felt a lot more comfortable knowing the Sheriff’s Department is on top of things,” Stevens said. He mentioned discussing a refrain commonly heard in the region: Why is there an apparent lack of law enforcement presence in local communities?

“There very well may not be a deputy anywhere you look, but there may be undercover units watching a home or unmarked probation units on your block,” Stevens said, by way of example.

The 45-year High Desert resident has been outspoken on the issue of crime in the region and said he was glad for the opportunity to join the committee. He hopes the meeting can be a turning point in

“I think the Sheriff’s Department is doing a great job with the resources they have, but they will always be outnumbered,” Stevens said. “We as a community need to take more responsibility and do what we can. I think that’s what the committee is about — we have to do our part.”

Paola Baker may be reached at 760-955-5332 or PBaker@VVDailyPress.com. Follow her on Twitter at @DP_PaolaBaker.