Video appears to show SLO probation officer texting while driving

May 17, 2017

A video that appears to show a San Luis Obispo County probation officer texting while driving is circulating on social media, prompting some locals to question whether public safety personnel are above certain California laws.

The footage was filmed on a cell phone at the intersection of Broad Street and Orcutt Road in San Luis Obispo, according to a post on SLO resident Richard Fields’ Facebook page. In the video, an officer appears to be sitting behind the wheel of a county probation car that is stopped at the intersection.

Both of the officer’s hands appear to be placed on the device. When the traffic light changes, the officer appears to drive away with one hand still on the device.

KSBY reports that the San Luis Obispo County Probation Department is conducting an investigation into the incident.

State law bans cell phone use while driving but exempts emergency personnel in duty-related situations. Additionally, most public safety agencies have their own policies pertaining to mobile device use.

SLO County Chief Probation Officer Jim Salio said county vehicle policy states all employees must obey all traffic laws when operating a county vehicle. It is unclear what discipline the officer may face if he is found to have broken county policy or the state vehicle code.







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28 Comments

  1. Pelican1 says:

    From a professional perspective, and personally speaking, I feel much more at ease having a LEO texting while driving rather than John Q citizen who has NOT the vehicle training, observational training, safety training, awareness training, etc.
    LEO’s are often multi tasked to include watching computer screens, listening to radio calls, pursuit calls domestic emergency responses etc. How about we give these men and women a bit of latitude, and quit harping on these agencies just because you know who was arrested for drunk driving!

    (-5) 27 Total Votes - 11 up - 16 down
    • DocT says:

      Double standards Pelican1? That’s what you’re advocating.

      Body Armor: cops wear it. You can’t. Wearing makes you a criminal.
      Guns: cops brandish them. You can’t. Doing it makes you a criminal….
      Speeding: cops can….
      Parking anywhere they feel like it: cops can….
      Lying: Cops are trained to lie in order to gain a confession. If you lie to a cop, you’ve commited a crime!

      Running a prostitution ring: cops do it to catch johns. You try it….
      Ditto drugs.
      Texting and driving: Again, cops can, we can’t.
      Driving drunk: cops can, you can’t.
      Pulling people over and taking their money (asset forfeiture): When cops do it, it’s the law. When you do it, it’s armed robbery.

      The list goes on and on. Do you like being a serf with no rights?

      (0) 6 Total Votes - 3 up - 3 down
      • Pelican1 says:

        I must say…a rather convoluted, series of comments laced with untruths primarily the result of your personal spin. Sad

        (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down
  2. laftch says:

    I wonder it video recording while driving is a crime.

    (16) 20 Total Votes - 18 up - 2 down
  3. kayaknut says:

    The sooner everyone just accepts that laws and rules are only for the “little” people and us “special” people can do whatever we want the better off you all we be………….

    (7) 21 Total Votes - 14 up - 7 down
  4. LAWMAN1 says:

    Lets hope the whistler blower Richard Fields doesn’t need law enforcement help someday
    petty,petty,petty.
    cell phones are very important to officers, this is how they receive updated photos of there probationer’s..
    Now if he was texting in his pizza order….then that’s a NO

    (-15) 51 Total Votes - 18 up - 33 down
  5. r0y says:

    FYI, here is the amended vehicle code California VC21123.5

    I got pulled over and ticketed on 101 Northbound, before Salinas (when there’s nothing out there), and the cop said he watched me answer the phone before putting it down, and that was “two seconds (my) eyes were not on the road…” – I then pointed out that if he was watching me, then his eyes were also not on the road for at least that long, so what is the point? He just said, “thank you for your cooperation, sir.”

    I know we do not require critical thinking anymore, either from law makers or enforcers, but holy bat crap, what a dumb-ass thing. I’m fighting it by mail, but since I have to pay them before I can fight it, the person who is supposed to impartially judge the situation will personally profit from my guilt (aka the $142 on top of the $20 fine).

    Yet another bullshit thing because an infinitesimal percentage cannot do two things at once, so the rest have to suffer. But hey, it feels good, so we’re all heroes, aren’t we?

    (-5) 43 Total Votes - 19 up - 24 down
    • DocT says:

      Guilty until proven innocent….but guilty of what? Who is the victim of your “crime” of answering the phone?

      These laws are simply a form of taxation. Taxation is theft.

      At least the mafia doesn’t care if you text while driving….

      (1) 35 Total Votes - 18 up - 17 down
  6. SamLouis says:

    The graphics on the SLO County Probation cars look silly. Why do they tart them up the way they do?

    (10) 24 Total Votes - 17 up - 7 down
  7. DocT says:

    Texting while driving…..

    1. Many people are better drivers while texting than others who don’t know how to text and sit right up close to the steering wheel and are only aware of the small piece of road right in front of their faces.

    2. Police text and use the computer all the time

    3. In my opinion, the ban on touching your phone (including texting) is just another statute designed to fleece the public for non-crime. What’s the difference to ANYONE if I drive home safely and I send a text vs. when I don’t even have my phone?

    Texting while driving safely and not damaging life or property should not be a crime….because unless someone is deprived of life, liberty or property, no crime has been committed. Crime needs a victim! Anti-texting laws are just a hidden tax…..nothing more, nothing less.

    But I did find this part interesting: …”prompting some locals to question whether public safety personnel are above certain California laws.”

    We all know that public safety personnel are above the laws. We aren’t wondering or questioning this at all. We all know this to be true.

    The law for cattle on the feedlot is to stay inside the fence. But the ranchers don’t need to stay inside the fence! They can go anywhere they like, in order to keep the cattle safe.

    It’s no different with us serfs! We can’t park anywhere we like. We can’t use the computer or text while driving. We can’t break the speed limit, make illegal u-turns, park on the side of the freeway whenever we feel like it, drive drunk, brandish firearms or steal people’s property, assault people, or anything else that “public safety” personnel do every day.

    Duh.

    If they punish this poor probation officer for texting….officer Fellows and the highly skilled county Coroner (he is on record driving with .19 alcohol level and only crashed once on the way to an autopsy) are going to be very, very nervous.

    Laws are there for one reason: to be enforced on the people. Very few of our laws have to do with actual crime. Most are arbitrary statutes: speed limits, bans on texting, eating, shaving, etc. These are nothing more than hidden taxes.

    Silly sheeple! The laws apply to us. The “public safety” personnel are merely there to enforce the laws. They know they don’t apply to them!

    We should all have a special day when each and every one of us gets in the car barefoot, unbucklse the seatbelt, drives over the speed limit, texts and sips a beer. (just a sip….enough to break the law, but not enough to endanger anyone) Bonus points for disconnecting/disabling emmissions controls for the day!

    Cops do it. Why shouldn’t we?

    (-12) 54 Total Votes - 21 up - 33 down
    • Stunned says:

      While I see your point (many people are better texters than others while driving) no one should be doing anything except driving when they’re driving, right? I think its a good law designed to save lives, not further squeeze our rights.

      (30) 42 Total Votes - 36 up - 6 down
      • DocT says:

        Laws do not save lives. Laws punish certain behavior.

        Murder has always been against the law. Some people are murdered by stabbing….so should owning a knife be a crime?

        No!!!! Stabbing someone is a crime. Having a knife is not. Ditto a gun, or a cell phone.

        Don’t be so quick to fling away your liberty for what they tell you is safety!

        (-4) 42 Total Votes - 19 up - 23 down
  8. azuresees says:

    Pretty C.S. and petty to throw that against a wall to see if it sticks…Especially petty to publish it.. But, I guess if you are in the pot-stirring business, it is important….

    (7) 39 Total Votes - 23 up - 16 down
    • catdude says:

      What the hell are you talking about? We have a video of a county employee in a county car texting while on the road; this is nothing? it’s just a joke? I guess we wait until he kills someone, then it’s news? Personally, as a daily motorcycle rider, I think texting while driving should be treated like drunk driving; the level of impairment and chance of causing a crash is the same…

      (12) 32 Total Votes - 22 up - 10 down
  9. SLOnative says:

    I was wondering how they recognized him. You can’t miss his County car.

    (16) 22 Total Votes - 19 up - 3 down

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