OC Sheriff Deputies Cruise to Boozefest in Their Unmarked Cars; Did They Violate Policy?

Dusk settled on January 9, as revelers filed out from the parking lot to JT Schmid's, a restaurant/brewery in Anaheim across from the Honda Center. The restaurant played host to an Orange County Sheriff's Department retirement party with outgoing Lieutenant Pat Higa, Doug Doyle and Mike Gavin as guests of honor. A mix of crewcut meatheads and bald blobs dressed in their Tommy Bahama best for the occasion, with significant others by their sides.

Sadly, the Weekly didn't get an official invite, but we crashed the party anyway thanks to a source tipping us ahead of time!

We were told that the parking lot would be full of unmarked, agency-issued Crown Victorias, Ford Tauruses and Chevy Tahoe SUVs. With the construction shell of the ARTIC transit hub boondoggle looming in the background, the lot was laughably as predicted. There were so many vehicles of the makes mentioned--one even with a CA exempt plate--that it might as well have been a used car lot for them, especially the Crown Vics!

Inside JT Schmid's, the din of the assembled off-duty deputies drowned out the sports highlights playing on flat screens above the bar. Around the bend in the Barley Room is where the party was really getting down. Guests were shooting the shit over drinks as others struck poses for cell phone pictures.

The Weekly can't set up checkpoints, so we can only hope everyone didn't get sloshed, drank responsibly and made it home in their government issued vehicles a-ok.

Now about those cars...

The Vehicle Use Policy for the Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Department notes that "[they] may not be used for personal use except for commuting (when approved for specific job assignments) or minimal use such as a stop for a personal errand on the way between work and home."

Of course, a retirement party is too specific to be explicitly noted as a policy manual no-no, but neither does it easily fit into an "errand" without a bit of a stretch of the imagination. But who are we to be buzz killers? Until next time!

Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @dpalabraz

Follow OC Weekly on Twitter@ocweekly or on Facebook!


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