Morro Bay cop caught asleep at the wheel

August 25, 2014

Morro Bay police officer asleep in his patrol car


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

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Dozing for dollars! Dereliction of duty! How much do we pay this guy to sleep on the job? He leaves the vehicle running and sleeps in the car. Well, let’s count our blessings – there isn’t a record of him misappropriating agency assets for personal gain, trafficking drugs, beating people up, dumping hazardous waste at the back of the corporation yard and of course no record of him having an extra marital affair with his subordinate and/or supervisor. So, all in all, we are lucky that all he is doing is sleeping on the job.


Well, until we know who that officer is, we actually DON’T know if he hasn’t done any of the other things you listed.

Let’s just hope that he hasn’t.

Mr. Holly

It would be interesting to see what schedule these officers are work?

There are many times that these officers work the late night shift getting off at 6am or 7am and then will have to go spend the good part of the day sitting in a courthouse waiting to have a case heard. Then they try to get a few hours of sleep prior to going on duty again, while at the same time trying to attempt to have a normal family life. There really should be a policy where the officer can take a nap, if needed, in a safe place provided by the city.

It may be too much to ask but they could always go to a fire station and take a nap while the firemen are sound asleep for at least a 1/3 of their shift after cooking or watching television.


Yes, go to work, take a nap, get paid. If you want that kind of job, go into politics or management.

Mr. Holly

Not really. Just become a fireman.

Or you can go to Arroyo Grande and use City Hall after hours to rest up before you go home.


Very true diamond. From the mayor on down, all of these fools have been sleeping since they have been elected.

Old Salt

Nothing new here…this has been going on for decades in Law Enforcement.

Even in the Prison’s and State Hospitals…

You should check on where the Sheriff’s Officers / Highway Patrol Officer’s hide out at night and snooze while on duty. Check the back roads, highways and byways…

Back in day SLO City / County workers used to have their 2 hour plus breakfasts (9:00 to 11:00 am) at the Hoover’s Beef Palace Restaurant in Templeton. Probably still do. They hid their vehicles in the back parking lot; all on the taxpayer’s dime. Listening to their conversations they weren’t having business meetings.

When it comes to City, State and Federal employment there is much that could be investigated.

Private industry workers have to work or be fired.


The SLO City workers 9-11 breakfasts were not at Hoover’s in Templeton but at Mayor Ron Dunin’s Budget Cafe. Before cell phones you called them there. Now they’re at Frank’s, not 9-11am, but longer than a morning break.


I would much rather have an officer take a nap that drive sleepy and kill someone.




Or drive while texting or talking on a cellphone with a hands free device, oh wait they are allowed to do this.

What is the big deal we already pay them while they drive into and home from the station and while putting on and taking off their uniform. Why not also pay them while they sleep, lets go ahead and pay them to run personal errands, have dinner with their families, and spend time at home, while we are at it let’s reduce the retirement age to 35 and give them 120% pensions after 5 years on the force.


Well, JMOpinion, I have to tell you that I have no problem with police officers taking naps. As far as I am concerned, they can take all the naps they want or need before they report for their duty shifts, and they can take all the naps they want or need after their shifts are over.

But while they’re on duty, the taxpayers are paying them to be awake and patrolling. This is not funny- what if the guy with that camera in the middle of night hidden behind a building completely out of sight was, instead, some cop-hater carrying a gun instead of a camera?


Why didn’t the person filming ask the officer’s name?


Yes, we want to know who he is. Especially since he’s supposed to be keeping our town safe. Full disclosure!


This video is gold, and your news organization continues to impress me with the fact that you actually – report the news!

The officer in question has two identifying ‘marks’. He has a small tattoo on the inside of his left wrist, and he has a larger colorful tattoo on the inside of his right elbow. When you add in his age, sex, and ethnicity, it should be pretty easy to identify him.

Not sure the Central Coast should pay their police officers close to what they make in LA or San Francisco when the officers have time to take long siesta’s while on the job. Should this officer be drug tested?


lets just all remember in November when it is time to Vote on all these New Tax Increases which helps support early retirements, salary increases, and benefit packages that most taxpayers will never receive or afford.

Jorge Estrada

This is a chicken report, working the night shift typically has a cat nap because humans are not night creatures. At certain times this is the safest thing to do and certainly a call on the radio would have pulled the officer into service. Thanks to those who are stuck on that shift and do their best to be available.


Wonder if the officers shift just changed from days to nights. Hard adjustment for the body to make. Glad I don’t have to do it.


Chicken? Why??? because this reporter has video to back up “claims” that MBPD Officers have been napping while on duty? Without video he would be called a liar. This napping has been going on for a long time and FINALLY someone has the guts to confront the department. Morro Bay businesses have been getting hit hard and often with graffiti for about a year now, all overnight. Car break ins and crimes are known to happen during these shifts yet apparently despite lip service from the department, nothing to see here. There is no excuse for this officer to nap on the job, because it is NOT a one time event. How many civilians have graveyard shifts to make a living? Law enforcement in Morro Bay has been in need of an overhaul for a long time. Maybe Chief Amy could do some overnight shifts herself. Or, how about getting some of the “volunteer officers” to do some overnight shifts, since they are provided uniforms, cars, radios and unlimited gas to cruise the town at their leisure, quite often making sure The Harbor Hut bar is safe during the Sunday brunch weekly walk through.

To the reporter who finally exposed this, good luck not getting pulled over in the future.


The video was not collected by a reporter. Mr. Specht is an aspiring politician.


That’s a chicken excuse Jorge. What about all the other night shift workers that can’t sleep in production lines, power plants, ships, etc.? There is no excuse for this while on the clock.

Jorge Estrada

I am simply understanding of the variables that exist on the night shift. There are boring monments of rythm in the night that would cause the normal person to get heavy eyed. Although I agree with the on the clock stantdards, the night shift for certain jobs do not lend themselves to a production line enviroment.

I once worked a night shift for over two years, an infant in the family, building a home and I remember how difficult staying awake was. I aged allot as well as those who had to be around me. A boring graveyard shift in Morro Bay has to be even harder, especially for the un-druged.

Cut the guy some slack, atleast he was easily awoke, polite and had the sense to be embarassed. Just feel like defending normal behaviour.


If this officer finds Morro Bay’s graveyard shift so boring, he should relocate to L.A, Fresno, Bakersfield or one the many crime ridden all night action cities. In your opinion Mr. Estrada, just how many naps should be given to the officers on the night shift? Please tell us what a would be fair? And for how long? The problem is not that one officer got caught, one time. They do this on regular basis. That is why they knew where to go videotape this officer. It has been known for awhile and no one has acted. Any officer should consider themselves lucky to work in Morro Bay. Now, if you can train them to be kinder to the locals. I agree with the other post that we need more officers like Hannibal. He treated everyone with a smile and respect. It works both ways.


I thought donuts have sugar in them and help keep you awake.



Now that was funny!

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