New $28.8 million offices open for San Bernardino County public defenders – San Bernardino Sun

A new $28.8 million building has allowed the San Bernardino County Public Defender’s Office to house attorneys, social workers, investigators and support staff all under one roof, a win for both the public and employees of the office, officials say.

The new San Bernardino County Public Defender’s Office in downtown San Bernardino. (Photo courtesy San Bernardino County)

“This new environment fosters the overall well-being of our team and allows us to better serve our clients,” Public Defender Thomas Sone said of the agency’s new building in downtown San Bernardino, which opened June 2.

Demolition of the 42,337-square-foot American Title building that once occupied the property began in May 2020 and construction was completed this year on Feb. 14. Public defender staff started moving in on May 20 from different facilities scattered around San Bernardino, according to the county.

Several members of the county Board of Supervisors were present during a ribbon-cutting ceremony when the new office opened at 323 W. Court St.

Sone said it is a reflection of the county’s commitment to assure that the Public Defender’s Office “has appropriate resources and funding to train, develop, hire and retain a skilled workforce.”

Among the highlights of the new building, he said, are a state-of-the-art training room that can be converted into a Mock Trial Courtroom.

“In addition to individual offices the new building has common work areas that will help our employees manage the unique stress that comes with this line of work,” Sone said in an email.

The Public Defender’s Office handles about 40,000 cases a year, and Sone said “an investment of this magnitude is important in recruitment.”

“The state-of-the-art training room that converts into a Mock Trial Courtroom and open space collaboration rooms make us more competitive in not only recruitment but also retention,” Sone said. “This building gives us the tools to recruit and attract the best candidates.”

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