World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Orange County Sheriff's Department (California)

Article Id: WHEBN0005041356
Reproduction Date:

Title: Orange County Sheriff's Department (California)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Yorba Linda, California, Tustin Legacy, Tustin, California, Kimber Custom, Washington County Sheriff's Office (Maryland), 1889 establishments in California
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Orange County Sheriff's Department (California)

Orange County Sheriff's Department
Common name Orange County Sheriff
Abbreviation OCSD
Patch of the Orange County Sheriff's Department
Flag of Orange County, California
Agency overview
Formed March 11, 1889
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* County of Orange in the state of California, U.S.
Map of Orange County Sheriff's Department's jurisdiction.
Size 948 square miles (2,460 km2)
Population 3,010,759
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Santa Ana, California
Deputies 1460[1]
Civilians 1446[1]
Agency executive Sandra Hutchens, Sheriff
Jails 4
Helicopters 2
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.
Orange County Sheriff Theo Lacy on horseback, 1890s

The Orange County Sheriff's Department (OCSD) is the law enforcement agency serving Orange County, California. It currently serves the unincorporated areas of Orange County and thirteen contract cities in the county: Aliso Viejo, Dana Point, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Stanton, Villa Park, and Yorba Linda.

The agency also provides law enforcement services to the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) system, and John Wayne Airport. OCSD also runs Orange County's Harbor Patrol, which provides law enforcement, marine fire fighting, search and rescue, and underwater search and recovery services along the county's 42 miles (68 km) of coastline and in the county's three harbors (Dana Point, Newport and Huntington).


  • History 1
    • Early years 1.1
    • World War II and the Creation of the Reserve Bureau 1.2
    • Post-World War II 1.3
    • Sheriff Carona 1.4
    • Beds for Feds 1.5
  • Organization 2
  • Command Staff 3
    • Executive Command 3.1
    • Administrative Services Command 3.2
    • Custody and Court Operations Command 3.3
    • Professional Services Command 3.4
    • Field Operations and Investigative Services Command 3.5
  • Rank structure 4
    • Sworn 4.1
    • Non-sworn 4.2
    • Sheriff's Explorers 4.3
  • Facilities and equipment 5
    • Field and Investigative Services Command 5.1
      • North Operations 5.1.1
      • Stanton Police Services 5.1.2
      • South Operations 5.1.3
      • San Clemente Police Services 5.1.4
      • Orange County Harbor Patrol 5.1.5
      • John Wayne Airport Police Services 5.1.6
      • OC Transit Police Services 5.1.7
    • Katella Training Facility 5.2
    • Jails 5.3
    • Courts 5.4
    • Orange County Sheriff's Academy 5.5
    • Aircraft 5.6
  • Orange County Sheriff's Department Explorer Post 449 6
  • List of sheriffs 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


J. Elliott, Joe Ryan, Sheriff Sam Jernigan, and Undersheriff Ed McClellan shown dumping bootleg liquor, circa 1925.

Early years

The Orange County Sheriff's Department came into existence on August 1, 1889, when a proclamation of the state legislature separated the southern portion of Los Angeles County and created Orange County. The entire department consisted of Sheriff Richard Harris and Deputy James Buckley, with an operating budget of $1,200 a year and a makeshift jail in the rented basement of a store in Santa Ana. They served a sparsely populated county of 13,000 residents, scattered throughout isolated townships and settlements. The problems faced by the first sheriff were typical for a frontier county – tracking down outlaws, controlling vagrancy, and attempting to maintain law and order across 782 square miles (2,030 km2) of farmland and undeveloped territory.

But the county was expanding, and the department grew with it. The Spurgeon Square Jail was opened by Sheriff Joe Nichols in 1897, and the Orange County Courthouse followed in 1901. Sheriff Theo Lacy (the second and fourth sheriff of Orange County, who served from 1890-1894 and 1899-1911) was able to move from borrowed office space in Santa Ana to a dedicated headquarters in the courthouse that remained in operation until 1924.

When he took office in 1911, Sheriff Charles Ruddock commanded a staff of eight full-time deputies and jailers, serving a county of nearly 34,000 citizens. But the county's frontier past returned to haunt it on December 16, 1912, when Undersheriff Robert Squires became the first member of the department to be killed in the line of duty while part of a posse attempting to apprehend a violent fugitive.

The county's growing population brought new challenges. Most of the county had outlawed liquor by the time Sheriff Calvin Jackson took office in 1915. Raids of "blind pig" businesses that served as fronts for illegal liquor sales were commonplace. When Congress passed the 18th Amendment in 1920, Prohibition became the law of the land. Suppressing illegal liquor operations became a major focus for the department over the next decade.

By the time Sheriff Sam Jernigan took office in 1923, rum runners and bootleggers were commonplace along the coastline and in Orange County's harbors, using them as a base of operation for smuggling Canadian liquor into the country. Thanks to Jernigan's diligence, many of them ended up serving time in the new county jail on Sycamore Street in Santa Ana, a building that would serve as OCSD's main jail and headquarters for the next forty-four years. Jernigan remained in office until the end of the decade. By 1930, the department had grown to include eighteen full-time personnel with an operating budget of $49,582. The county's population was approaching 119,000, over half of which was scattered across a mostly rural landscape.

Sheriff Logan Jackson assumed office in 1931, and for the next eight years guided the department through a turbulent decade. The Long Beach earthquake of 1933 caused widespread damage throughout the county, especially in Santa Ana. In 1938, a week of intense rain overflowed the Santa Ana River, causing a massive flood that caused over $30 million in damage. The sheriff also had to deal with the Citrus Riots of 1936, an agricultural labor dispute that led to a strike and subsequent disturbance so large that Sheriff Jackson swore in over four hundred special deputies to help control the violence. But Jackson's term in office also saw advancements for the department, such as an expansion of the Sycamore Jail that included the county's first radio dispatch center. One of his final acts as sheriff was to implement the wearing of uniforms and a standardized badge for all thirty of his deputies.

World War II and the Creation of the Reserve Bureau

Sheriff Jesse Elliott replaced Jackson in 1939, just as the Depression was ending and the county once again began to prosper. This peaceful time was cut short by the outbreak of World War II in 1941, which created challenges unlike any others in department history. Most of Orange County's peace officers left for war, leaving the department critically understaffed. This was made worse by the fact that in addition to his normal responsibilities, the sheriff was now required to assist with mandatory civil defense measures such as air raid drills and blackouts, as well as help police the seven wartime military bases within the county borders. Elliott suddenly found himself responsible for twice as many duties with only a fraction of his former staff to carry them out. To meet this need, he formed the Sheriff's Emergency Reserve, which eventually became the department's current Reserve Bureau.

Post-World War II

In 1946, former deputy James Musick came home from the war and successfully ran for the office of sheriff, assuming command in 1947. He would serve as sheriff for the next twenty-eight years – the longest term in department history. When he took office, the county was still mostly rural, with a population of 216,000 served by a department of only seventy-six. During Musick's administration, a number of divisions and facilities were commissioned that remain active to this day. He implemented the county's first crime lab, its first Peace Officer's Training Center (now known as the Katella Facility), and the nation's first law enforcement Explorer post. The 1960s saw the construction of the Orange County Industrial Farm (later renamed the James Musick Jail Facility), the Theo Lacy Facility, and the headquarters and central jails still in use today. In response to the civil unrest of the late 1960s, Musick formed the Emergency Action Group Law Enforcement (EAGLE) team, a group of deputies with specialized training in various riot control and specialized tactics. Although the team disbanded several years later, certain platoons evolved into the modern-day SWAT, Hazardous Devices, and Mounted Patrol units. The department grew even larger when the Coroner's Office merged with it in 1971. By the time Musick retired in 1974, the county had expanded to a rapidly urbanizing population of over 1,400,000, with the department having grown to a staff of over 900.

Musick's handpicked successor was Brad Gates, who became sheriff in 1975. The department continued its rapid expansion during his administration, with the merging of two more agencies – the Orange County Harbor Patrol and the Stanton Police Department. In response to severe jail overcrowding, the Intake Release Center was opened in 1988, completing the modern-day Central Jails Complex. Gates also established the Air Support Bureau and created the Laser Village tactical training center, as well as the county's first DNA laboratory. The continuing urbanization of the county resulted in several cities incorporating and becoming contract patrol areas. Gates also steered the department through the challenges of a severe county bankruptcy in 1994. By the time he retired in 1999, the department had grown to over 3000 members.

Sheriff Carona

Sheriff Michael Carona took office in 1999, and oversaw a merger of the Orange County Marshal's Department (his former agency) with OCSD. His term brought additional department expansion, including a modernized Katella Facility and a new OCSD Academy in Tustin. Patrol cars were equipped with mobile computers, and anti-terrorism units were formed in response to the events of September 11, 2001. Carona received an initial surge in popularity due to the department's handling of high-profile cases such as the Samantha Runnion abduction and murder. In 2007, Carona and former members of his executive staff were indicted on multiple corruption charges. He was convicted of a felony and entered Englewood Federal Correctional Institution in January 2011. Carona was released in May 2015 to complete his sentence by home confinement.[2]

Carona's replacement, retired L.A. Sheriff's Commander Sandra Hutchens, was appointed by the county Board of Supervisors after a nationwide search for a suitable candidate. Hutchens reorganized the agency after assuming office, and created new branches such as the Homeland Security Division, a unified command for the various bureaus responsible for the county's security. Subsequent economic challenges required cuts to the department's budget, and made it necessary to streamline the entire agency.

Beds for Feds

In 2010 OCSD and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reached an agreement that would allow federal detainees to be placed Orange County Jail facilities and several deputies have been cross trained as ICE Special Agents.


The OCSD is divided into twenty divisions covering five organizational functions: Public Protection; Jail Operations; Technical Services such as investigations, coroner services, and emergency management; and Administrative and Support Services.[3]

The Orange County Marshal's Department was absorbed by OCSD on July 1, 2000; then-Sheriff Michael Carona was the last Marshal. OCSD, under its Court Operations Division, now provides all security and law enforcement services (such as Bailiff services, weapons screening checkpoints and prisoner custody) to the county court system.

The OCSD currently has 1,460 sworn deputies and over 1,446 civilian personnel, with another 800 reserve personnel.

Command Staff

Executive Command

  • Sheriff-Coroner Sandra Hutchens
    • Undersheriff John Scott
      • Community Services
      • OC Crime Lab
      • Public Affairs

Administrative Services Command

  • Executive Director Brian Wayt
    • Senior Director Brian Wayt
      • Communications and Technology
      • Financial/Administrative Services
      • Research and Development
      • Support Services

Custody and Court Operations Command

  • Assistant Sheriff Steve Kea
    • Commander Toni Bland
      • Court Operations
      • Central Jail Complex
      • Musick Facility
      • Theo Lacy Facility
      • Inmate Services

Professional Services Command

  • Assistant Sheriff Linda Solorza
    • Commander Adam Powell
      • Coroner
      • Professional Standards
      • S.A.F.E.
      • Training
      • Force

Field Operations and Investigative Services Command

  • Assistant Sheriff Lee Trujillo
    • Commander Tim Moy
      • Airport Operations
      • Homeland Security
      • Investigations
      • North Operations
      • South Operations
      • Stanton Police Services
      • San Clemente Police Services
      • OCTA Police Services

Rank structure

There are many job classifications with a multitude of duties that serve the citizens and visitors of Orange County each and everyday. Sworn designates the personnel that are sworn as California Peace Officers. Certain tasks and duties require personnel involved to be sworn peace officers. Non-Sworn designates personnel that perform duties that do not require a sworn officer, but are equally important in carrying out the Sheriff's mission.


  • Sheriff-Coroner (1)
  • Undersheriff (1)
  • Assistant Sheriff (4)
  • Commander (3)
  • Captain (12) / Chief Deputy Coroner
  • Lieutenant / Assistant Chief Deputy Coroner
  • Sergeant / Supervising Deputy Coroner
  • Investigator
  • Deputy Sheriff II / Senior Deputy Coroner
  • Deputy Sheriff I / Deputy Coroner
  • Reserve Deputy Sheriff


  • Sheriff's Special Officer III
  • Sheriff's Special Officer II
  • Sheriff's Special Officer I
  • Sheriff's Correctional Services Assistant
  • Sheriff's Community Services Officer
  • Sheriff's Correctional Services Technician
  • Sheriff's Crime Prevention Specialists
  • Sheriff's Professional Staff
  • Sheriff's Crime Scene Investigators
  • Sheriff's Cadets

Sheriff's Explorers

  • Explorer Commander (1)
  • Explorer Captain (4)
  • Explorer Lieutenant
  • Explorer Sergeant
  • Explorer Corporal
  • Explorer
  • Probationary Explorer

Facilities and equipment

Field and Investigative Services Command

North Operations

North Operations includes patrol and investigative services for the northern boundaries of Orange County, this division is based out of Sheriff's Headquarters in Santa Ana, California. The current head of North Operations is Captain Bob Peterson.

Stanton Police Services

Stanton Police Services includes patrol and investigative services for the city of Stanton, California after the Stanton Police Department was absorbed by OCSD. The current head of Stanton Police Services is Lieutenant James England.

South Operations

South Operations includes patrol and investigative services for the southern boundaries of Orange County. In 2015, South Operations was bifurcated into Southeast Operations and Southwest Operations. Southwest Operations is based in Aliso Viejo and led by Captain John Coppock. Southwest Ops consists of the cities south and west of the I-5 freeway: Aliso Viejo, Laguna Hills, Laguna Woods, Laguna Niguel, San Juan Capistrano, Dana Point, and San Clemente.

Southeast Operations is based in Lake Forest and led by Captain Brian Schmutz. Southeast Ops consists of the cities north and east of the I-5 freeway: Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, and Rancho Santa Margarita. Southeast Ops also houses the South Patrol Bureau, led by Lieutenant Mitch Wang. South Patrol Bureau provides general law enforcement services to the unincorporated communities of Wagon Wheel, Coto De Caza, Dove Canyon, Trabuco Canyon, Las Flores, Ladera Ranch, and Rancho Mission Viejo.

San Clemente Police Services

San Clemente Police Services includes patrol and investigations for the city of San Clemente, California. In 1992 San Clemente Police Department was absorbed into OCSD, however San Clemente only allows the former San Clemente Police Station to be used by deputies who patrol their city. The current head of San Clemente Police Services is Lieutenant Dave Moodie.

Orange County Harbor Patrol

Orange County Harbor Patrol includes maritime security and enforcement of laws in Orange County's Harbors. The current head of Harbor Patrol is Lieutenant Mark Long.

John Wayne Airport Police Services

John Wayne Airport Police Services provides responsive and professional service to John Wayne Airport. They pro-actively protect lives and property at this facility and respond to all calls for service promptly. In addition to these services they remain vigilant against threats (foreign or domestic) to ensure the security and safe operation of this facility. All Airport Police Services employees are expected to represent the department and John Wayne Airport in a friendly, helpful, and professional manner. The current head of John Wayne Airport Police Services is Captain Dennis DeMaio

OC Transit Police Services

The mission of the OCTA Transit Police Services is to maintain a safe and peaceful environment for OCTA customers and employees, and to ensure the security of OCTA property. The current head of OCTA Police Serives is Lieutenant Tim Rainwater.

Katella Training Facility

Located on Katella Avenue in Orange, California the training facility is the training center for all members of the OCSD SWAT Team and the OCSD CIRT Team.


OC Central Jail Complex in Santa Ana, CA

The OCSD Custody Operations Division operates four jails:[4]

  • Central Men's Jail and Women's Jail - The Central Jail Complex, opened in 1968, is located next to the department offices in Santa Ana. It houses approximately 2,664 inmates.
  • Intake Release Center (IRC) - In 1988 as a part of the Central Jail Complex, the Intake Release Center was built to facilitate the intake and processing of inmates, and the including medical screening, booking, properidentification, and transfers between facilities. While it is a transitional facility, it also holds male and female inmates for brief periods.
  • Theo Lacy Facility - The TLF, located in the city of Orange, was originally built in 1960. A major expansion completed in 2006 brought its capacity to 3,100 inmates, making it the largest jail in the county.
  • James A. Musick Facility - A minimum security facility located on unincorporated county land near Lake Forest and Irvine, "The Farm" provides custodial and rehabilitative programs for 1256 adult male and female inmates.


After the Orange County Marshal's Department was absorbed by OCSD, the sheriff's department became responsible for providing court services. There are Sheriff's personnel stationed at the Justice Centers throughout the County. Sheriff's staff at the Justice Centers fulfill the vital mission of the Sheriff that include bailiff services in each courtroom, weapons screening operations in the lobby of each Justice Center, and detention services, supervising the inmates who have appearances each day at the facility. These personnel fall under the Court Operations Command of the OCSD. The current head of court operations is Captain Toledo. Orange County Sheriff's Offices are located at the following Superior Court of California facilities in the County of Orange:

Orange County Sheriff's Academy

The Orange County Sheriff's Academy is located in Tustin, California on the site of the former Tustin Marine Corps Air Station. The facility opened in late 2007 and replaced the old academy on Salinas Avenue in Garden Grove which was no longer adequate due to overcrowding. [2] The Orange County Sheriff's Regional Training Academy produces highly trained and professional Deputy Sheriffs & Police Officers, Sheriff's Special Officers, and Correctional Services Assistants. Some training is also conducted at a Sheriff's facility on Katella Avenue in Orange, California.

OCSD Eurocopter AS 350 Duke 1

There are 83 instructors on the academy and 46 percent are from OCSD, 39 percent from other agencies, and 15 percent are from non-law enforcement. The OCSD academy program is 28 weeks long and includes training on community policing, arrest control techniques, firearms, and scenario training. The OCSD academy places an emphasis on physical training and the ability to make decisions when placed in stressful situations.

Some law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles County utilize the OCSD Academy for training, including the Santa Monica Police Department, Beverly Hills Police Department, Torrance Police Department, Glendale Police Department, Glendora Police Department, Whittier Police Department, University of California Los Angeles Police Department, Redondo Beach Police Department, Manhattan Beach Police Department, Palos Verdes Estates Police Department, Burbank Police Department and the Pasadena Police Department.


The department's helicopters (both Eurocopter AS350 B2 [or "A*Stars"]) use the radio call sign "Duke" (after actor and Newport Beach resident John Wayne) and, appropriately, use John Wayne Airport as their operational base. The original "Duke" helicopters (a pair of Boeing 500s) had an image of John Wayne riding atop a sheriff's badge (while waving his cowboy hat) painted on the fuselage.

Orange County Sheriff's Department Explorer Post 449

In November 1959, Orange County Sheriff James A. Musick wanted "young men," who desired exposure in the field of law enforcement to be afforded the opportunity to do so. In a newspaper article he stated, "We organized the group after we found that other special interest Explorer Posts were taking our best young men from our high schools. We decided, rather than take what was left over after other fields of endeavor took the best, that we should start training young men of high school age now for a career in law enforcement."

Thus, the first Law Enforcement Exploring Post in the nation was established. Its purposes were, "To train young men of today for the future that awaits them in the law enforcement field of tomorrow. To stimulate young men's interest in law enforcement practices, the code of ethics, and the fine qualities of citizenship which are expected, to briefly explore all phases of law enforcement and to be a definite approach to juvenile decency." Post 449 began with twenty-eight explorers in Santa Ana who had to meet the qualifications of being "between 14 and 21, must maintain a "B" average in school, have a clean record, be of outstanding citizenship in their community and have a general reputation beyond reproach."

In 1973, after fifteen years of only young men being allowed in the Exploring program, Boy Scouts of America allowed young women to explore careers in law enforcement through membership in a Explorer Program. Maintaining the same high standards for qualification and training these young women diversified the Department's Post.

When the residents of contract cities and the unincorporated county area need help they call the Sheriff's Department; when the Sheriff's Department needs help they call on their Explorers. The Orange County Sheriff's Explorer Post supports deputies during road closures caused by natural disasters such as mudslides, floods and forest fires. They complete search missions where either missing persons or evidence is sought, and are deployed to protect us protect crime scene perimeters. This involvement, by the explorers, allows Deputies to be available for calls for service.

Explorers are also used to assist in public education. They distribute brochures explaining changes in parking regulations or temporary street closures. During Bicycle Rodeo Events, Explorers demonstrate to children how to properly size and wear bicycle helmets. They offer child identification and crime awareness, through a "Kid-Print" program and assist in crime prevention demonstrations throughout the county.

The Department's Explorers serve the community by providing crowd and traffic control during Basic Academy Graduations, County Building Dedications, Mall grand openings, Community awareness fairs, 10 K runs, parades and a multitude of other charitable events. The Post's Color guard is used to present the flag at City Council and County Board of Supervisor meetings, as well as scouting and civic events.

The Orange County Sheriff's Department Explorers participate in Law Enforcement competitions throughout the state. Through the use of the Department's "Laser Village" and its Training Staff, Post 449 Explorers have learned skills which enabled them to win several awards in Felony Car Stop, D.U.I., Bomb Threat and Search and Building Search scenarios. The Explorers also compete in Tug-of War, Volleyball and Obstacle Course competitions.

Sheriff's personnel, who volunteer as Advisors for the Department's Post, contribute countless hours exposing youths to Law Enforcement Careers. Their commitment to the advancement of the Exploring program goes beyond the Department's Post. The Department's Advisors also serve on the County-wide Organization as Ranking Officials, Academy Directors, Tactical Training Officers and Instructors at the Explorer Academy. In addition to Orange County, these Advisors have trained and taught Explorers from Kern, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside and Ventura counties.

List of sheriffs

See also


  1. ^ a b OCSD Department Info page
  2. ^ Branson-Potts, Heley (May 15, 2015). "Ex-O.C. Sheriff Michael Carona leaves prison, returns home". Los Angeles Times. 
  3. ^ "OCSD: Administration". 
  4. ^ "OCSD: Custody Operations". 

External links

  • Orange County Sheriff's Department
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Hawaii eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.