SAPD Endangering The Lives of Santa Ana Residents.

The Orange County Reporter

Some Santa Ana police personnel have total disregard for the safety of the city’s residents with whom they share the streets. As these videos show, they break Santa Ana Police Department’s Policies and California’s Vehicle Codes.

On the night of August 30th 2022, my vehicle’s dash-cam captured two such incidents as I was driving the streets of Santa Ana on assignment.  There was usual police activity thru the night, but none as careless as these two police officers driving their assigned patrol vehicles.

The first incident was captured at 1:33 a.m. I was driving eastbound on 17th Street, approaching  Penn Way/I-5 Freeway. I’m entering the intersection and a Santa Ana Police Patrol SUV almost collided with me. I noticed the patrol vehicle speeding with no siren or lights on — not even the headlights — northbound on Penn Way approaching 17th St. As I was already in the intersection, the Police Officer slammed on his brakes, making the patrol vehicle slide passing the crosswalk lines and forcing me to change lanes to avoid a collision.

He appeared at the 11 second mark of the video, almost causing a traffic collision due to reckless driving.

The second incident occurred at 3:33 a.m. of the same morning. I was behind a Santa Ana Police Department Patrol Vehicle. Once again my dash-cam captured reckless driving, endangerment of public safety, violation City and Police Department Policy and State Laws. This Police vehicle’s drive also was also about to cause a traffic collision. Driving eastbound on 1st Street, approaching Broadway, the patrol vehicle stopped at the red light — then without hesitation drove through the red light, stopped at the next intersection, drove off, and stopped at a red light on Main St. My light turned green; the police officer proceeded through the intersection as I followed — and then with total disregard for other vehicles the driver slammed the brakes at the middle of the intersection in front of me. I had to take evasive action, braking hard to avoid rear-ending the patrol vehicle. The police officer stopped in the middle of the intersection from the lane closest to the center street median, then made a hard right cutting other drivers going eastbound and proceeded southbound on Main Street.

As an independent investigative reporter, I was not surprised as Santa Ana Police Personnel’s actions. Like those in Police Departments all over the United States — Local, State, or Federal — they think that they are Untouchable, that no laws apply to them.

Santa Ana Police Department Policies require adherence California Vehicle Codes. Emergency Vehicles responding to an emergency do have a few exceptions when an actual emergency is present and when they have their emergency lights and sirens ON.

California Vehicle Code (CVC) regulations generally apply to all drivers, whether or not acting in a law enforcement or other public capacity. The only exception to that rule, provided in CVC Section 21055, applies when an authorized emergency vehicle is either: (1) responding to an emergency call or fire alarm; (2) engaged in rescue operations; or (3) in immediate pursuit of an actual or suspected violator of the law.

California Vehicle Code Section 21055:

“VEHICLE CODE – VEH

DIVISION 11. RULES OF THE ROAD [21000 – 23336] ( Division 11 enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3. )

CHAPTER 1. Obedience to and Effect of Traffic Laws [21000 – 21300] ( Chapter 1 enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3. )

ARTICLE 2. Effect of Traffic Laws [21050 – 21070]  ( Article 2 enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3. )

21055.  

The driver of an authorized emergency vehicle is exempt from Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 21350), Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 21650), Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 21800), Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 21950), Chapter 6 (commencing with 22100), Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 22348), Chapter 8 (commencing with Section 22450), Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 22500), and Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 22650) of this division, and Article 3 (commencing with Section 38305) and Article 4 (commencing with Section 38312) of Chapter 5 of Division 16.5, under all of the following conditions:

(a) If the vehicle is being driven in response to an emergency call or while engaged in rescue operations or is being used in the immediate pursuit of an actual or suspected violator of the law or is responding to, but not returning from, a fire alarm, except that fire department vehicles are exempt whether directly responding to an emergency call or operated from one place to another as rendered desirable or necessary by reason of an emergency call and operated to the scene of the emergency or operated from one fire station to another or to some other location by reason of the emergency call.

(b) If the driver of the vehicle sounds a siren as may be reasonably necessary and the vehicle displays a lighted red lamp visible from the front as a warning to other drivers and pedestrians.

A siren shall not be sounded by an authorized emergency vehicle except when required under this section.

(Amended by Stats. 1977, Ch. 1017.)”

In any of these situations, the emergency vehicle drivers are required to warn the public with red lights visible from the front of their vehicles and, when reasonably necessary, activation of sirens. So,  it is not legal for a police car to “slide through a red light for no apparent reason” and they or their fellow officers would be justified in issuing them a traffic ticket!

Santa Ana Mayor Vicente Sarmiento has been made aware of these two incidents; he replied to my message with “Will make sure to follow up. Working with my Policy aide on this.” On September 9th 2022 I received an email from Jose Gonzalez (Commander Executive Officer of Internal Affairs) to schedule a meeting and discuss and review the videos of those two incidents of Santa Ana Police Department  Personnel endangering the lives of the residents of Santa Ana.

My investigation is still ongoing as a meeting with Internal Affairs has been scheduled for Tuesday, September 27th, 2022 [Ed. Note: before this piece appeared here] and I will update this article once see whether those Police Personnel will be reprimanded, and if any new policies are made in regards to these incidents.

Tags: ,

About Igmar Rodas

I've been an Activist on Police Misconduct since the early 90's as a result of several cops in Hollywood beating up a homeless man on Hollywood Blvd. I was a Journalist in High School and has kept it up until now. I'm an avid Professional Photographer which now most of my photography skills I incorporate it into my Journalism. I collaborate with the ACLU on Issues of Civil Rights Violations in Orange County, Made a Bicycle Municipal Code obsolete in Santa Ana when it was used to target the Homeless and Low Income people in Santa Ana. Now I'm focusing and Investigating Anaheim's Citywide Corruption.