Last Day Of Work for San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon


San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon

Photo: Getty Images North America

Today is the last day of work for the San Bernardino County Sheriff.

John McMahon's decided to call it quits, but not because he's had it but because he wants to spend quality time with friends and family. McMahon's been with the department for 36 years.

"I've had all kinds of assignments, 17 different ones throughout the county. Been to Needles twice, both by choice and...the academy and the jails...I've had a great career I've been able to do a lot of incredible things that most in other smaller agencies wouldn't have been able to do."

McMahon says he never set out to be Sheriff but he was thrown into the spotlight when in 2013, just days after he was appointed Sheriff, one of the biggest cases of his career happened. Cop killer Christopher Dorner ended up in Big Bear.

"Personally, I learned a lot from the Dorner event. I believe that just being thrown into that and the press conferences and all of that, that you don't really have a whole lot of experience with unless you do them. I got a lot of experience in those and some things that that we maybe could have done a bit better. And we did, we changed it up and we did much better on December 2."

McMahon's talking about the terrorist attack of December 2, 2015, when a husband and wife walked into a building in San Bernardino and opened fire on their co-workers killing 14 people. McMahon would go on to win his first election by a healthy margin. Looking back on his almost four-decade career, I asked him if he had any regrets.

"Not a one, not a one. I have not had any regrets at all. I've enjoyed every bit of it, you always learn a little bit from every event, you can maybe do something better. Maybe you can change things just a bit but absolutely no regrets."

And what will he miss the most when he takes off his badge?

"The people. The work is the work. I mean, I enjoy the people that we get to work with, not necessarily internally first, but outside we have some great community members we meet with regularly that are huge supporters of ours and I've built true friendships with a lot of them, I will miss them. But most importantly, I'll miss the people that I get to work with every day and not just on this executive staff floor. I mean, I see those folks regularly. It's the opportunity to walk out and go downstairs to Central Patrol and go to a briefing or to walk to CDC central detention center behind us and, and walk through the jail and visit with people. This morning, as an example, I'm coming in the back way and I see a bus and a van, a trans van and bus in the sallyport at CDC, and they were coming out so I stopped out here on the road and got out of my truck and the bus stopped and the van stopped and there were two deputies in each one and they came out and give me a big hug and two of which are trans deputies that have been in transportation for 20 years probably and when I was the Captain at West Valley, they were working there. It was just great to see them. That's what it's all about is those people that work so hard and do their very best to take care of you. And then to see them out there and then you know, get a big hug....and yeah, that's what it's all about."

By now I could see the emotion in McMahon's face, and while he still has a lot of energy and a great attitude, he does admit law enforcement, especially patrol, is a young person's game. So I asked him what advice he would offer the next generation of deputies.

"Number one, enjoy every minute of it because it goes fast. And then don't forget to take care of your loved ones and your family and friends. They're the ones that support you, both while you're working, but they're going to be the ones that are there when it's over. And you'll go back to your family and you have to have those strong relationships and you have to have taken care of them and be thankful for what they did for you."

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