Morro Bay cop caught asleep at the wheel
August 25, 2014
By JOSH FRIEDMAN
Shortly after Morro Bay police officers do late night bar checks and roust homeless people they find sleeping in their cars, some then search for a secluded spot to take a nap in their police cruisers, in violation of police policy and city laws.
Sources say Morro Bay police officers have frequently slept in their patrol cars during night shift hours, violating a city ordinance. Morro Bay municipal code prohibits sleeping in vehicles between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., with the exception of in designated areas like a trailer park.
On multiple occasions, CalCoastNews has observed officers sleeping behind Pedersen Realty and Property Management on Main Street in Morro Bay. In some instances, the officers would sleep there for three or more hours at a time.
Late last month, Jeffery Specht, a critic of the Morro Bay Police Department, filmed an officer asleep in his patrol car in the parking lot behind Pedersen Realty. Specht shot the footage shortly after 3 a.m. on July 29.
On film, Specht woke the officer and asked him why he had been sleeping.
“I have to rest,” the officer said.
CalCoastNews asked Morro Bay Commander Bryan Millard to identify the officer in the recording. Millard refused to name the officer, citing personnel issues as an exemption from public disclosure requirements. Nevertheless, multiple officers have been observed sleeping in their police cruisers in the same area.
Millard did say, though, that police department policy prohibits officers from sleeping in their patrol cars.
In recent years, the police department has stepped up its enforcement of the sleeping in vehicles ban in Morro Bay. Officers have awoken individuals sleeping in their cars and have given them tickets and tried to force them out of town, homeless people have said.
The police department has even created city signs stating that it is unlawful to sleep in vehicles at night. Police created the signs as part of a community policing and environmental planning initiative, according to an April 2014 department newsletter.
City staff then erected the signs, which cite the Morro Bay Municipal Code, and placed them in locations where homeless people have been known to sleep at night.
Since Specht filmed the officer asleep in his patrol car, police have not returned to that location at night, sources say.
CalCoastNews would like your help identifying the officer in the video. If you have any information pertaining to the identity of this officer or the on-the-job sleeping habits of area patrolmen, please email email@example.com.
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