The Orange County Register has a detailed story on a pill-popping Fullerton police officer whose career ended when internal affairs investigators showed up at his Seal Beach apartment and found empty pill bottles and a cop so high he could not speak without slurring.
The Reg tells the Todd Alan Major saga in light of others involving prescription drug abusers who recently wore law enforcement badges in Orange County. But Major's story could also serve as a jumping off point to ask this:
What the fuck's up with the Fullerton Police Department?
First, Register reporter Kimberly Edds tells the story of Major, a 30-year-old who colleagues on the force described as "a great cop with a good heart." The son of Mike Major, the former head of investigations with the Orange County District Attorney's Office, Todd Major spent nearly every Tuesday night running his department's Police Explorer program.
His drug abuse was exposed after the department in September 2010 began looking at how he spent city money, according to Edds' report. The six-year veteran is accused of repeatedly misusing a city credit card, forging a city check and stealing from two Troy High School administrators, 11 of his Fullerton police explorers and the Fullerton Car Show to buy prescription drugs, including oxycodone and hydrocodone.
Major, who resigned from the force in January, was facing 17 felony charges brought by the state Attorney General's office. Through a deal with prosecutors, 15 charges were dropped in exchange for Major pleading guilty last month to fraudulently using a credit card to steal and embezzling from the city of Fullerton.
A judge ordered Major to serve 180 days, which he is serving by taking out trash at the Theo Lacy Jail complex in Orange eight hours a day, five days a week. He goes home at night but must refrain from using illegal drugs or unauthorized prescription drugs, or being around drug dealers or users. He must also submit to drug testing.
Edds reports that prescription painkiller abuse "has been seeping into America's law enforcement agencies, in some cases blurring the lines between cop and crook." She cites some other pill-popping police that the Weekly has also reported on:
- Former Orange County Sheriff's Deputy Allan James Waters, who was sentenced Friday to 32 months in prison after pleading guilty to 12 felonies, including that he sold fake cocaine to buy prescription drugs and lied to eight doctors for more than a year to get prescription painkillers.
- Former Anaheim cop Kevin Noel Schlueter, who was sentenced in April 2010 to 10 months--six of which he spent in a residential drug treatment facility and the remainder confined to his home--after pleading guilty to driving under the influence of a cocktail of prescription drugs for the third time in less than a year. He also received five years probation.
The piece ends with Fullerton Police Chief Michael Sellers saying, "This is the true tragedy because rarely does anyone think ahead of time about the consequences for their dependency behaviors."
One hopes Sellers is also aware of the behaviors of other officers in his department.
The same Register also has a piece about five or six Fullerton cops beating the living shit out a man now clinging to life at a local hospital.
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Kelly Thomas, 37, was suspected of burglarizing cars in the 100 block of South Pomona Avenue when officers approached him Tuesday night. But they say that while searching his body, Thomas became combative. He suffered head and neck injuries while being subdued by the police gang, and he was listed in critical condition.
Fullerton police say Thomas is possibly homeless and has mental issues.
Finding police crime in that case is difficult without knowing both sides, but there's no doubt somethings rotten on Commonwealth when it comes to 25-year-old Fullerton officer Kelly Janeth Mejia.
She was recently placed on paid administrative leave after her arrest for allegedly stealing an iPad from another traveler at a Miami International Airport security checkpoint.