On January 5, 2015, Michael Ramos (@michaelramos) was sworn in as District Attorney of the County of San Bernardino for a fourth term. In his address, he noted the importance of continuing his mission to fight violent crime and corruption and make victims’ rights a priority.
No stranger to the local area, District Attorney Ramos was born and raised in Redlands, California. After attending local schools in Redlands and graduating from Redlands High School in 1976, Ramos earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from the University of California in Riverside in 1980 and a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from Citrus Belt Law School in Riverside in 1988.
Ramos’ government service began in 1980, where he started as a group counselor with the Probation Department and then later became a Probation Officer. He started his career with the District Attorney’s Office in June 1989 as a Deputy District Attorney.
In addition to his work in general prosecution and the narcotics unit, he served with the Major Crimes Unit for four years, until 2002, when he was elected District Attorney for San Bernardino County.
His civic services have included serving as a school board member from 1995 – 2002; member of the California Victim Compensation Board; and President of the California District Attorney Association , to name a few.
In 2011, Ramos was elected to represent the State of California on the National District Attorneys Association Board of Directors (NDAA) and serve as chair of NDAA’s Committee for Training and Education. In July 2016, he was elected to serve as President of NDAA.
In 2009, Ramos responded to this problem of human trafficking in San Bernardino County and created the county’s Coalition Against Sexual Exploitation (CASE). The coalition brought together a partnership of county departments including the District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Department, Probation Department, County Superintendent of Schools, Department of Children and Family Services, Public Defender and Department of Behavioral Health, to raise awareness of this issue, and to provide enhanced county and community resources to victims. Since that time, he campaigned heavily in favor of Proposition 35 which voters overwhelmingly passed in 2012 and created a Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit.
In an effort to reduce the demand for victims of human trafficking, Ramos also began releasing the names and photographs of defendant convicted of solicitation in San Bernardino County.
“It was time to try and put a stop to the demand that is associated with the sexual exploitation of our young women,” Ramos said. “Our message is simple: If you’re a so-called john thinking about soliciting sex in San Bernardino County, you better think twice.”
He furthered his efforts by creating a Human Trafficking Vertical Prosecution Unit withing the office and partnered with the San Bernardino County Sheriff to form a Human Trafficking Joint Investigative Task Force to address the commercial sexual exploitation of minors.
In 2011, Governor Jerry Brown appointed Ramos to the Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission (POST), which was established by the Legislature in 1959 to set minimum selection and training standards for California law enforcement.
A firm believer in serving his community, Ramos has been recognized with such awards as the Inland Empire Hispanic Image Awards recipient for Influential Latino of the Year (2005) and M.A.D.D. Prosecutor of the Year Award (1998).
During his tenure, he has added a Public Integrity Unit to handle political corruption and a Lifer Parole Hearing Unit to ensure that violent prisoners serve their maximum prison terms. Ramos has also created a Major Crimes Against Children Unit to handle those cases involving our most defenseless and vulnerable crime victims and a Crimes Against Peace Officers Unit (CAPO).
In 2005, Ramos--with the help of the County Board of Supervisors--formed the Hardcore Gang Prosecution Unit to wage a hard-fought battle against gangs across the county. Since that time, there have been 6,852 state prison commitments secured for a total of 51,190 years plus 303 life terms in state prison. Three gang members have been sentenced to death.
“The rise of criminal street gangs in this county is a real threat to our communities, but I refuse to allow these local terrorists to determine how we live our daily lives,” Ramos said. “I’ve said it before and I will continue to say that coming down hard on gang crime and keeping our communities safe will always be an important mission of this office."
To further combat gangs, in 2007, Ramos implemented a Gang Injunction Unit, which targets gangs in unincorporated areas of the county and uses civil abatement methods to assist in ridding the county of gangs. The most recent gang injunction was filed in 2012 against a criminal street gang in the City of Rancho Cucamonga. The injunction will serve to disrupt the gang's activities and make it harder for them to intimidate community members by prohibiting members from congregating and loitering in an area designated as the Safety Zone.
Ramos has also expanded the Cold Case Unit to deal with the increase in cold cases that are being solved due to new technology, such as DNA. “These are important cases, said Ramos, “because to a victim or a victim’s family, a case is never ‘cold.’”
A longtime advocate for victims and victims' rights, Ramos is continually trying to find innovative ways to serve victims through the Bureau of Victim Services Unit, which provides assistance to victims as they make their way through the criminal justice system. Additionally, he has expanded the Family Violence Unit with attorneys who are cross-trained in elder abuse, domestic violence and crimes against children.
“Ultimately, our job is to represent the people in the criminal justice system for the County of San Bernardino,” said Ramos. “As long as I am district attorney, I will continue to ensure that we do just that in a manner that is consistent with our mission and the ethical responsibilities that we are sworn to uphold as prosecutors.”