Undersheriff arrested for DUI, but not jailed

June 6, 2010


Atascadero Police arrested San Luis Obispo Undersheriff Steve Bolts for driving under the influence on El Camino Real near Del Rio Road on Saturday night at 8:30 p.m., according to the police log.

Bolts, 56, was booked at the Atascadero Police Department and then released with a citation. There were five driving under the influence and drunk in public arrests made on Friday and Saturday in Atascadero. Except for Bolts, all other arrestees were transported to San Luis Obispo County Jail, according to the police log.

In Atascadero, police either book and release or transport drunk drivers to jail, according to the police log.

Officers secured Bolts’ Ford truck and left it at the scene.

In 2004, Sheriff Pat Hedges created the second-in-command undersheriff position as part of a restructuring that put a buffer between the sheriff and his staff. Bolts said he plans to step down when a new sheriff takes over at the end of year.

According to sheriff insiders, Bolts has been running the department for Hedges.

“Hedges is gone most of the time and has Bolts do his work in his absence,” said one sheriff’s department employee who asked to remain anonymous.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Just more evidence of arrogant corruption within our government. “Do what I say, not what I do” mentality.

I’m relatively new to the area, but from what I’ve been hearing and reading lately, if the citizenry is so displeased with the Sheriff’s performance in how he’s been running the department, why hasn’t he been recalled? I haven’t heard one person say anything to indicate they’d oppose it, so why has everyone been putting up with an elected official they don’t like? Is apparently costing them money, and is not even on the job any more? What gives? You can’t recall the undersheriff because he’s not elected, but you can certainly recall the person who created the position.

It’s too late to recall the sheriff now because it’s too close to election time, but I guess what I’m asking is if this displeasure has been going on for years, why hasn’t he been recalled?

Really hard to do, people are busy and lazy. And CCN has only been around for a short time, no one else ever reports this stuff. But now that CCN has been informing us of the muck around us it is up to us to do something about all the graft. Our DA is worthless, the courts are clumsy and often worthless, many of our elected folks are relatively worthless. That leaves us. And this isn’t any two bit tea bag crap, those people (I use the term loosely) are the modern Gestapo. I mean real people who want a better community, not just more for themselves and to hell with everyone else. If the real people around here got together for positive change things would jump.

For a long time, this area was able to expect a lot more from its elected officials… There wasn’t really outward transparency, but if you were really interested no one would bother to hide information. I don’t think anyone was prepared for the likes of Hedges, and I think most people just wanted to believe that all the stories were typical criticisms of law enforcement. I think that part of the problem is that over the last 10 years, there has been a huge shift in law enforcement agencies away from being an arm of the local government, and towards being an arm of the federal government, accompanied by a lot more secrecy and a lack of respect for localized issues.

I think that if the position weren’t up for election, it wouldn’t have gone on much longer without some kind of conflict.. But taking on a Sheriff is a pretty daunting task.

Good point. The BOS can’t control the Sheriff but they sure control the budget and position allocations. Election day would be the perfect opportunity to show the citizens that you are in fact our elected representatives and offer proof.

I am very disappointed that the Board of Supervisors can not intervene and eliminate the Undersheriff allocation and save a huge amount of money. The position can be restored if it fits into the next Sheriff’s management structure in January. It is time for them to take back control of the county government and call Sheriff Hedges into the executive session tomorrow morning and abolish Mr. Bolts position. Bolts has pulled off one of the largest financial rip-offs of tax dollar in modern time through a tiny loophole. Gentlemen, it is time to step up to the plate and close the loophole and stop the financial bleeding. It would also help to restore some dignity to the remainder of your hard-working employees. Katcho? Gibson? Hello, anybody?

Bolt’s definitely has to go. I don’t know if his position is superfluous but I have been concerned about him providing the public, his services at the level he holds for some time. I know that Bolt’s was involved in the cover up of a murder of a young woman. It wasn’t until he was removed from the case (5 years later) that another detective who knew that a murder rather than a suicide had occurred took charge and did the right thing. The evidence was over whelming right from the start. The detective whose name I believe is Donovan reopened the case, exhumed the deceased body and proved she was murdered. The detective also knew that he believed who “had done it”. It was a Grover Beach LEO. The case remains open as a homicide but to date they haven’t been able to make an arrest. Maybe if Bolt’s hadn’t covered up for 5 years, things would have turned out different.

I think his name is Bolts, Bolt’s is possessive and not his name.

Thumbs Up hotdog, Don’t know why I am sticking that apostrophe in there, don’t have a clue but if you didn’t point it out to me, I bet that I would have kept it up for a while.

Thank You

Reminds me of an old Stones jingo, ‘Sticky Fingers’!

This is really too much. You all know that I am the first one to scream foul when I perceive that a LEO or a law is wrong. Many of you are completely ignoring the fact that I have told you that PD’s in general including APD often cite and release. Mkanney mentions that he is surprised that I seem so relaxed about this recent arrest. Yes I am relaxed because I know that the APD didn’t treat Bolt’s any different than they would any other local polite citizen that was under the influence but not what most of us would call DRUNK. I’m very pleased that the cops went right out there and did the right thing. They saw another cop doing wrong and they arrested him. I’m satisfied.

What’s interesting for me, is watching all of you right now. I have to tell you that you appear to want to find something wrong with the police. You don’t want to consider that APD did treat him like any other citizen. I know i would normally be right in there with you. In the case I know they did nothing wrong.

We tear cop’s apart when they screw up or are even perceived to have erred in some fashion. We should give them a high 5 when they do a good job, like arrest a brother. Bolts will pay worse than the average citizen for this crime because of the line of work he is in. That should be enough for us?

The four other arrestees on Friday and Saturday would disagree with how equal the treatment was. I too applaud the officer that made the arrest but can not support the leadership decision not to book him into County Jail. Attempting to minimize or rationalize the level of intoxication is a new standard and the previously identified “dirtbag” standard is discriminatory. According their web-site the Atascadero PD received $100,000 traffic safety grant for DUI enforcement and $50,000 for a combined DUI and seatbelt enforcement. I don’t think they need to worry about the reimbursed booking charges. Sorry Cindy, this one stinks. I’ll bet you your bail money that if you were arrested for DUI in Atascadero, you would be booked at the county jail.

First, let me point out that we don’t know how many DUI’s vs DIP’s there were. They “have to” take a DIP to jail. Second, it is not “standard” to jail DUI’s. Even in LA they cite and release them. Over the last 25 years I have known at least 7 or maybe 8 people who were charged with a DUI. Some from the Central Coast, some from SO CAL and 2 from N CAL. Only one of them went to jail and that is because they had been involved in an accident.

Don’t bet me any bail money, I picked up a friend of mine less than 6 months ago at the A-town PD. Guess what for?

Actually, you are welcome to go to the daily activity log on the PD web-site and count them. I don’t want to do it again as their were 13 pages just for Saturday.

go Cindy!

I think you are confusing my words with someone else’s. I never mentioned that I’m surprised you seem so relaxed about this arrest. In fact I say I agree with the cite and release. My very first comment was simply saying that the soon to be ex-wife calling him in was no excuse for the drunk driving.

Yes, I did confuse your words with someone else’s. He is another poster here who I enjoy and respect. :)


I want to make a point here which is probably going to be extremely unpopular. I think drunk driving laws are out of control and I think the statistics have been grossly distorted. (Note that I have never been arrested for a DUI/DWI). Also, I have no problem with the police citing and releasing someone who they feel comfortable with to a sober driver.

However, that being said, hypocricy *really* rubs me the wrong way. Police officers *should* be held to a higher standard, *especially* if they are going to receive the compensation they feel they deserve. Police officers who are arrested for a DUI or any other charge should have to experience the full punishment, and that includes a night in the drunk tank. Then, and only then, should they be allowed to resume their job.

In the case of the two officers arrested with smuggling drugs… if they received the same sentence that anyone else would (which would generally be 6-12 months in federal prison for a first time offense of that nature), then I wouldn’t have as much of a problem with them resuming their job later. Repeat offenses should lead to job loss though. I think it would strengthen their respect for the laws they uphold, and the people they arrest.. I certainly don’t think Nine+ months of paid leave, $25, and a year of probation is going to lead to officers that have respect for anyone but themselves.


Your comments are always sober and wise, even if not agreed to. Since I often rant, like many others here, it is always a pleasure to read a measured and calm comment that has power in its wisdom.

Thank you!

I can’t even imagine how to justify returning a drug-smuggling cop back to a job of trust. The two in SLO got off lightly through the court system but Linden cannot possible keep them employed and maintain a shred of confidence in her or the police department. There are certainly many family members who have lost a loved one by a drunk driver that would disagree with your train of thought.

I’m sure there are. But people lose family members in all kinds of accidents. Frankly there are people whose driving skills while intoxicated (while not better than when they are sober) are still much better than other people who are sober. Lots of accidents are caused by people who are self absorbed and therefore not paying attention, or putting on makeup, changing a CD, etc…

What is the difference between someone being killed by a drunk driver as opposed to a self-absorbed driver? Nothing really, except the drunk driver will be villianized to a MUCH greater extent, and public statements about the drunk driver will be a thousand times more dramatic and judgemental. In fact, I’ve never read a single article that stated that someone was killed by a self-absorbed driver, not one.

That point aside, I simply think people should be held accountable for what they do, not what they might do. If someone causes an accident through any form of negligence, they should be held responsible for the outcome regardless of their state of mind.

Do drunk driving laws decrease drunk driving accidents? If the possibility of killing someone isn’t enough to stop someone from driving drunk, I seriously doubt that the possibility of a couple thousand dollar fine is going to be the deciding factor.

I will go one farther than that mkaney. This is a post that people ‘really’ aren’t going to like. I agree that people should be charged for what they do, not what they might do. The majority of accidents are caused from self absorbed distracted drivers, true. Reason’s like looking for a particular CD, eating a hamburger that dripped on you, applying makeup or looking in the mirror to see how bad your latest blemish appears, reaching on the floor board for your water bottle, looking at the pretty lady in the lane next to you and of course the big one is TEXTING. Very few people are involved in an accident over a .08 blood alcohol content or even a .10 for that matter, these low BAC levels are rarely the cause. It has become villainized beyond reason when one considers l the low BAC that qualifies a DUI charge. I believe it’s more about money than anything else. It’s been about MADD lobbyist, politicians playing to the public and filling local coffers.

It’s also a fact and can be backed up with plenty of statistics. Currently an accident involving a DUI driver who wasn’t as fault is still considered ‘alcohol related’ for statistical purposes.

Yeah it’s not real popular to criticize MADD. In fact I’ll try to sidestep around it myself and just say that ANY lobbyist group can get out of control.

Misuse of statistics is a hallmark of this entire country and its media. Unless a statistic is accompanies by a ton of qualifying information, it’s worthles.. That includes all federal government indicators. Example: The job report last week said +435,000 jobs, and the media acts like its responsible to qualify that with the fact that 411,000 were census jobs. What they didn’t tell you is that another 225,000 are from something called the birth/death adjustment, meaning we actually lost about 200,000 jobs. Also many of those census jobs were actually for the same people, who are terminated and then rehired by the census.

I completely agree with the both of you. I know that when they lowered the BAC qualifier from a .10 to a point .08, they justified it by pointing to their statistical reports, claiming that there were too many accidents and that the .10 was too high. It has since been proven that they (MADD) were compiling their stats based on any fender bender based on any amount of alcohol at all. Even a person with a BAC of .02 = to 4oz of beer was included in the statistics that they used to claim that there were too many alcohol related accidents as compared to the number of drivers who were being held accountable. It was all lobbied for by MADD and the legislators gave them what they wanted.

Since that time, the new .08% law has become a massive money maker for the gov. When the BAC limit was at .10% most everyone could consume two alcoholic beverages without reaching that limit. Many people do reach the .08 % limit when they consume two drinks, especially woman.

In closing, 90% of DUI CHARGES ARE BOGUS, IMO

Maybe he got sick of waiting for a cab……..then it’s not his fault, it would be the city’s fault for not providing enough cabs right?

Why shouldn’t all suspected DUI drivers be booked into county jail…no matter what their position in our community? I thought normal operating procedure was a four+ hour hold in the “drunk tank” at county jail and then the suspected DUI driver is released. I’m curious to know how many other individuals arrested for DUI by APD were not taken to county jail but instead taken the Atascadero Police Department—booked, issued of a citation and then released. I’m wondering if the SLOPD offers the same “courtesy” to Cal Poly students when they are suspected of drunk driving? It seems to me an individual’s status/position in this community depends on how law enforcement treats you.

How sad for our community that our own law enforcement officers cannot obey the laws that they enforce. And let’s not forget, drunk drivers kill innocent people.

This is just another example of the good old boys network around here. Mike “Tex” Teixeira is the only candidate who isn’t a part of it. I hope people see this whole pattern for what it is and vote for the one candidate who wouldn’t be afraid to change things.

Check with Tex, a former CHP officer, and he should verify that the “cite and release” policy is something that has been in place for decades with many departments. If you aren’t a dirt bag and fall within the guidelines of the policy you will be cited and released and your vehicle will not be towed away.

Time to move on.

I wonder where they teach that professional skill of determining if an arrestee is a “dirtbag” or not so they know when to take them to the county jail. That is ridiculous.


A dirt bag is someone that spits on a police officer, fights a police officer, kicks the windows out of a patrol car and needs to be subdued when arrested.

A good citizen is a person who cooperates when they commit a crime and are apprehended by the police.

Watch COPS on tv and maybe you’ll get what I’m talking about.

Watching COPS explains your vast knowledge of law enforcement techniques. We have these things called a Constitution and Bill of Rights that protect all citizens equally. They are kind of neat and you should read them sometime.

Your absolutely right about being treated equally. That really would be wonderful if all of the crooks acted equally. Unfortunately you have no idea what your talking about. Go for a ride along sometime in Santa Maria or South Central LA and get a reality check.

You got me there. I guess you have seen it all while on ride-a-longs.

No I actually worked there for many years.

So, you don’t really drive dowm Broadway and say look, a dirtbag, let’s arrest him? Don’t you have PC to make the stop or is that just in the text books? The CHP doesn’t take DUI suspects to the station and release them on a cite. At least not here.

“Dirtbag,” believe it or not, is a term used almost universally by LEOs in the United States.

mkaney…..according to the dictionary:

dirt·bag (dûrt’bāg’)

n. Slang

A filthy or vile person.

That’s exactly what some people are. You have used several unflattering words on this site to describe who you don’t like. I thought hypocricy rubed you the wrong way??

“Note: Help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the

issues, topics, and facts at hand—not at other members of the site.”

First of all, I simply made a statement of fact. I didn’t make any comment about whether it was good/bad/right/wrong. So I fail to see where that was hypocritical. I think people should be able to say whatever they want. In fact, I would prefer that people say what they want, rather than worry about political correctness, that way we know what they really think.

I do think that in a professional context, it reflects poorly on how police view people. I have, of course, said some pretty stupid things before in a professional context myself. However, criticism and hypocricy are two different things.

Why would you even state that “fact” then if you didn’t think it was wrong?

In most cases, I think the police view people as good people, that’s why they are cops, to help people and serve the community. However, with all the sumb bag, loser, drunk, beligerent, violent, crazy, filthy people they deal with sometimes, give them a break if they call a dirtbag a dirtbag.

“However, with all the sumb bag, loser, drunk, beligerent, violent, crazy, filthy people they deal with sometimes”

Come on now, that’s no way to talk about their fellow officers.

see, you are just like the people you rip on.

*eyeroll* you’re going to interpret things however you want, I’m just toying with you at this point.

While growing up in LA I hear the “N” word with great regularity. It’s probably in the dictionary but it still doesn’t make it right. The cops I have met seem professional and don’t need to call people names to sound tough.

The “N” word is a racial slur and specific. “Dirtbag” is not and can be used to describe people of any race, sex, religion, color etc. Don’t even try to compare the “N” word to a word such as “dirtbag”…..

We are talking about human beings. These are real people and the implication is that we can call them derogatory names except when based on ethnicity. Neither are appropriate. Many of these “dirtbags” are mentally ill, drug dependant and homeless and actually need help. The definition and acceptance of this term through this stream is applied to anyone the officers don’t like. I think they have been watching too many cop dramas.

I agree that many are mentally ill, drug dependant and homeless….BUT many are just plain old “dirtbags”. Haven’t you ever met one?

Sure, sometimes they even have badges.

Of course. I just never felt the need to call them that.

You have met a mentally ill, drug dependent, homeless police officer?

You keep saying that Teixeira is the “only” candidate who isn’t part of the good old boy system. You’re wrong.


The difference between Cortez and Teixeira is that Cortez is not only not part of that system, but he’ll get in there and dismantle it and see it dies a quick death.

Cindy, it’s really interesting how your law and order mind is so relaxed about Bolts. Drunk drivers usually are not caught their first time. MOST drunk drivers do indeed go to jail. Yes, monied people and people in high places do get preferential treatment, as Bolts here did. The protocol is one for poor, unknown, unkempt people and a different one for those with connections, money or both.

This article is as much about Bolts as it is about APD, but let’s not quibble. Bolts was drunk, he was arrested, he was treated very very differently from the others who were arrested. Simply because he is under sheriff. No other reason.

Gonna breathe a lot easier with Cortez in there.

Bolts should have been treated like every other citizen stopped on a D.U.I……without exception

“Bolts should have been treated like every other citizen stopped on a D.U.I……without exception”

HE WAS, stopped on a D.U.I……without exception.

Yes Cindy, he was stopped but not booked into the County Jail like the rest of the DUI suspects over the weekend.

Ruforeal he would have been tarred and, his ass feathered, and thrown outside the city limits, off a wagon, my grandpapapy,’ dad told me this,,,,,,,,,,,,,,his name was Hank Lepley! Or Bettencourt, I can’t remember ?????????????