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New commander takes charge of Sheriff's Substation

Effective August 13, Lt. Mike Barnett assumed command of the Fallbrook Sheriff’s Substation, following the transfer of Lt. Phil Brust to the department’s Emergency Services Division. Barnett, an 18-year veteran of the Sheriff’s department, was most recently in charge of the Special Investigations Division headquartered at the Kearney Mesa main office.

Barnett said the transfer to Fallbrook is something he feels very good about.

“Fallbrook provides a great opportunity for a lieutenant in the Sheriff’s department because they have great supervisors working at the substation, great deputies and detectives and a very supportive community,” he said.

Barnett is no stranger to North County, as he resides in the area.

“I’ve worked up here in North County many times in many career and I’ve been looking for an opportunity to work up here again,” he said.

Barnett’s most recent assignment had him in charge of the agency’s criminal intelligence detail, fugitive task force and other task forces that interfaced actively with federal and state agencies. Prior to that, he has worked in internal affairs and been based out of various stations throughout the county.

Given Barnett’s experience, Brust said he feels confident in turning over the Fallbrook command.

“When I found out was coming up here, I was very pleased with the choice the Sheriff made; he’s going to be a great asset to the community,” said Brust.

Last week, Brust spent significant time briefing Barnett on matters concerning the Fallbrook command and ongoing projects.

“For a small substation, [Fallbrook] has a lot going on,” said Brust. “There’s a long list of concerns in the community, but up for the challenge and he’s going in with both feet on the ground; full speed ahead.”

Barnett said he was well aware how involved many Fallbrook community members are in trying to help law enforcement efforts.

“The people of Fallbrook, more than in any other part of this county, are engaged with the law enforcement component to make it a good community,” said Barnett. “There are some problems that are well known, but the Sheriff’s department is working to address them.”

Barnett said Fallbrook has more deputies assigned to the command than ever before.

“We have more deputies on patrol with 24-hour sergeant coverage than any other substation in the county,” said Barnett. “We have everything we need to address the problems head-on and make a positive impact.”

Brust said he felt Barnett’s extensive interaction with state and federal agencies would prove to be a positive element for the Fallbrook command.

“[His experience] will provide a lot to the community and with the contacts he has at the regional, state, and federal level, he can reach out to people,” said Brust. “This is good for everybody.”

Barnett said stepping in to the leadership role in Fallbrook will be made easier by what Brust accomplished in his stint here.

has set up a well-oiled machine in the Fallbrook station; he deserves credit for all the good stuff he’s done,” said Barnett.

Brust, who had led the Fallbrook command for 16 months, will be based at Gillespie Field in San Diego and oversee the Sheriff’s department SWAT team, bomb/arson and canine units.

“I enjoyed the opportunity the Sheriff gave me to run the Fallbrook substation,” said Brust. “All the accomplishments we made were due to a team effort that involved all the staff at the station. Having Lt. Barnett take my place will be an asset to the community.”

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