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Laguna Beach

Police Files

Stabbing in ASL parking lot reported, victim transported to hospital

On Sunday, Dec 30, at 9:12 p.m., at the 20600 block of Laguna Canyon Road, LBPD received a report of an alleged stabbing that occurred at the Alternative Sleeping Location (ASL) parking lot. The victim, a 29-year male, was reportedly stabbed three times. 

Police Files York“The victim and suspect were familiar with one another from the past. The suspect was staying at the ASL and the victim was sleeping in the parking lot inside a sleeping blanket. At the time of the incident, he was wearing multiple layers of clothing to stay warm. The victim sustained several puncture wounds that were minor in nature,” said LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota.

The victim was transported to Mission Hospital - Mission Viejo, according to Sgt Cota, and has since been released.

“The knife was not located so there are no specific details about it. Charges are currently pending. The suspect was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon,” Sgt Cota added. 

The suspect was identified as Michael York Kelsey, 33.

Bail was set at $25,000.

Woman arrested for defrauding Surf & Sand on NYE

On Monday, Dec 31, at 10:15 pm, LBPD officers were dispatched to Surf & Sand Resort, at the 1500 block of S Coast Hwy, for a report of a woman unable to pay for her stay. The total amount due wsa $966.43, accordingly to LBPD records.

“The credit card on file declined. Officers arrived and conducted a thorough investigation, which concluded with Rosario De Bugarin, 50, of Laguna Beach, being arrested for violation of Defrauding an Innkeeper for over $400,” Sgt Cota said.

According to Sgt Cota, Bugarin has been contacted several times in 2018 for theft related incidents. 

Bail was set at $20,000.

Read more Police Files on our Front Page II – click here

Police Files

Repeat offender caught with stolen steak from Ralphs

On Friday, Dec 21 at 4:28 p.m., at the 200 block at St. Ann’s Drive, an LBPD officer observed Reese Westenberger from the rear parking lot of the Woman’s Club holding a Duraflame log and a Christmas stocking. 

According to reports, Westenberger did not see the officer as he crouched behind a retaining wall and began to stuff the log into the stocking.

“The officer contacted Westenberger and also noticed a large bulge underneath his coat. The officer inquired about what he was concealing. Westenberger admitted that he had food items in his coat, as he pulled out a package of tortillas and three pounds of ribeye steak,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said. “He claimed a women gave it to him as a charitable gift although he had no bag. A review of video surveillance showed Westenberger was inside the supermarket [Ralphs] carrying the items and exiting the store.”

According to LBPD, the total loss was $61.21. Westenberger was not allowed in Ralphs anymore because he is a repeat offender of stealing items, Cota explained.

Reese Mitchel Westenberger, 53, was arrested and taken into custody for possession of stolen property and possession of narcotic paraphernalia, a hypodermic needle located in the pocket of his jacket.

Since May 1, 2018, over an 8-month period, Westenberger has been arrested eight times by LBPD, according to Stu News Laguna records. He has also been arrested two times by Newport Beach Police Department in that same time.

Bail was set at $500.

Local man struck by vehicle while allegedly intoxicated still in critical condition

As previously reported in Stu News, on Wednesday, Dec 26, at 7:21 p.m., LBPD and LBFD responded to an injury traffic collision involving a vehicle versus a pedestrian on South Coast Hwy between Laguna Avenue and Legion Street, in the southbound lanes.

“After speaking to witnesses and the driver involved in the collision, it was established the pedestrian, William Hemphill, was heavily intoxicated,” said Sgt Cota. According to witness reports, “Hemphill staggered into the roadway and was struck by a vehicle. Hemphill was not responsive at the scene and was transported to Mission Hospital, Mission Viejo.”

William Edward Hemphill, 68, suffered critical injuries, including a laceration to spleen, fracture to face, spine, pelvis, hip, and ribs.

“Hemphill was unconscious upon arrival at hospital and was kept sedated,” Sgt Cota said. “As of Saturday, William Hemphill is still in critical condition in an induced coma.” 

According to police, the driver of the vehicle did not display any signs and symptoms of alcohol intoxication.

Tree falls on Laguna streets, blocking intersection

On Friday, Dec 28, at 8:53 a.m., LBPD and LBFD received a call about a fallen tree branch blocking an intersection at Santa Cruz and Agate Street.

According to police logs, the tree hit wires on the way down, but the wires stayed intact. A neighbor tried to drag the tree out of the way but it was too big.

“Laguna Engine 2 was dispatched to a report of a tree branch that fell into the street and was blocking the intersection,” said LBFD Chief Api Weinert. “Upon our arrival we found a large tree branch in the intersection. LE2 crew moved tree branches off to the side of the street for the responsible party to dispose of.”

Police Files

Man allegedly pulls out his private parts, makes lewd suggestions and threatens Ralphs manager

On Sunday, Dec 23, at 4 p.m., LBPD officers responded to Ralphs grocery store, at 700 S Coast Hwy, in reference to a male subject allegedly causing a disturbance. The male was identified as 39-year-old Braden Bolton. 

Police Files BoltonAccording to LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota, “The manager advised Bolton to leave the store. Bolton refused, removed his male genitalia from his pants, and instructed the manager to ‘suck it.’” 

An independent witness told Bolton he was calling 9-1-1.

“Bolton then aggressively followed the witness and threatened his life,” Sgt Cota said. “Bolton was taken into custody for trespassing, indecent exposure, and terrorist threats.”

Bail was set at $51,000.

Man allegedly goes on spree cutting city X-mas lights

On Sunday, Dec 23, at 9:43 p.m., LBPD officers responded to Hennessey’s Tavern for a report of a male subject who was allegedly throwing condiments and creating a disturbance. Officers arrived in the area but did not locate the subject right away. 

Police Files Marston“A short time later, LBFD firefighters located a male, later identified as Craig Marston, who matched the description cutting the lights wrapped around the trees on Forest Avenue at Glenneyre Street,” Sgt Cota said. “Firefighters confronted Marston and he quickly tossed a box cutter on the ground.”

Officers arrived on scene and LBFD firefighters told the officers they had witnessed Marston, 47, cutting the lights with the box cutter.

“Officers noticed the lights did not work and noted the wires had been cut. A box cutter was found next to the tree,” Sgt Cota said. “Marston then spontaneously admitted to cutting the lights with the box cutter because he was upset. Officers arrested Marston for vandalism.”

Bail was set at $500.

Bike vs. car accident, rider transported to hospital

On Sunday, Dec 23, at 6:17 p.m., LBPD officers responded to a traffic collision with injuries, involving a vehicle versus a bicyclist. 

“The driver of the vehicle was making a left hand turn from Catalina Street onto Graceland Drive when the bicyclist, who did not have any lights on her bicycle, rode in front of the vehicle,” Sgt Cota said. “The bicyclist sustained no visible injuries, due to it being a slow speed crash, but was transported to Mission Hospital Laguna Beach due to a complaint of pain to her hip.”

 The driver of the vehicle was able to drive her vehicle from the scene.

Police Files

Man dies following self-inflicted vehicle fire at Aliso Beach

On Tuesday, Dec 18, at 9:09 a.m., at the 31100 block of S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach Emergency Services received an emergency call about a vehicle fire. Local residents, including those dining at nearby Lost Pier Café, also reported the sound of a large explosion.

Sadly, according to LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota, “This was self-initiated and so far appears to be an attempt of suicide. There was no bomb, but an excessive amount of gas was located, so it appears the sound of an explosion was the gas and fire igniting the vehicle.”

 The man involved in this tragic incident is described as a 56-year-old man from Lake Forest. Sgt Cota said no drugs were involved.

The man was pulled from his vehicle by emergency personnel after at least one local resident was unable to extricate him on their own due to the significant car damage sustained.

The man, who was still alive as of Thursday after being transported to Orange County Global Hospital in Santa Ana by Mercy Air, died this morning (Friday, Dec 21), according to a message from Sgt Cota.

Police Files Car

Click on photo for a larger image 

Photo by Scott Brashier

A 56-year-old Lake Forest man who was saved from his burning vehicle by emergency personnel on Tuesday has died

LBFD Division Chief Api Weinert said the man sustained “Head to toe burns, all the way from the head to the toe. I would say the gamut from first, second and third-degree burns.”

Chief Weinert reiterated Sgt Cota’s statement that a bomb was not responsible for the vehicle fire.

“It was not a bomb. Although bystanders did report hearing a loud explosion,

anytime you have confined combustion, you can hear what sounds like an explosion or a pop,” LBFD Chief Weinert said.

The event was hard to fathom and to experience.

“Even though we see horrible accidents throughout our careers, it doesn’t mean they don’t accumulate over time or just that one accident that some of our members haven’t seen before won’t affect us,” Chief Weinert said. “We reached out to Trauma Intervention Program (TIP), not just for ourselves but for bystanders. They are an incredible organization. TIP made contact with the civilians, police officers, firefighters, and first responders that were there.”

Holidays are a particularly rough time of year for depression and death.

“A lot of people think we’re really slow, but we’re actually really busy,” Chief Weinert said. “The holidays can be an intense time for people.”

Suicide prevention help is available. If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please reach out to or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In Orange County, you may also visit this site.

Know the warning signs. Some warning signs may help you determine if a loved one is at risk for suicide, especially if the behavior is new, has increased, or seems related to a painful event, loss, or change. If you or someone you know exhibits any of these, seek help by calling the Lifeline. Behavior includes:

--Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves

--Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun

--Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live

--Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain

--Talking about being a burden to others

--Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs

--Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly

--Sleeping too little or too much

--Withdrawing or isolating themselves

--Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge

--Extreme mood swings

Read more Police Files on our Front Page II – click here

Police Files (Cont.)

Man hits three parked cars, light pole and fire hydrant in cut & rescue in the canyon, DUI suspected

On Tuesday, Dec 18, at 3:55 a.m., LBPD officers responded to a traffic collision on Laguna Canyon Road at Big Bend. The traffic collision was a single vehicle rollover, cut and rescue, with the driver trapped in the vehicle. 

“Officers arrived on scene and attempted to pull the driver, later identified as Anaheim resident Tyler Tripp, from the vehicle, but the damage was too extensive. LBFD arrived on scene and began rescue efforts to extricate Tripp from the vehicle,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said. 

The outbound lane was closed for approximately one hour, but due to the early morning hour, traffic was not a factor. 

“Tripp was eventually rescued from the vehicle and transported to Mission Hospital, Mission Viejo. Prior to being transported, Tripp submitted to a Preliminary Alcohol Screening test and his BAC exceeded .08 percent,” Sgt Cota said. “Tripp was ultimately arrested for DUI.” 

The collision involved Tripp’s vehicle, three parked vehicles, a light pole, and a fire hydrant, according to Sgt Cota. Edison and the Water Department arrived on scene to make the necessary repairs. Fortunately, the fire hydrant capped itself upon being sheared off and no flooding or water damage occurred as a result of the collision. 

Tripp was released from the hospital later in the day after receiving medical treatment.

Tyler Mitchell Tripp, 23, of Anaheim was arrested on suspicion of DUI, his first.

Bail was set at $2,500.

Man asleep at the wheel of idling car wakes up to a DUI arrest, charges for cocaine and loaded Glock 

On Sunday, Dec 16, at 8:34 a.m., LBPD officers responded to the Laguna Drug parking lot, at 239 Broadway St, to check on the welfare of a man reportedly passed out inside of a black Toyota RAV 4. 

According to police reports, the man was “slumped over the wheel and the vehicle [was] idling.” The reporting person knocked on the window and the subject didn’t respond.

“The male was identified as Mission Viejo resident Charles Furis. It was determined he was under the influence of alcohol and a stimulant,” Sgt Cota said. “He was subsequently arrested for DUI. A loaded Glock handgun and cocaine were located inside the vehicle.” 

Charles Alexander Furis, 31, Mission Viejo, was arrested on suspicion of DUI, possession of a narcotic controlled substance, and possession of a controlled substance while armed with a loaded gun. According to Sgt Cota, booking information shows he is employed by Whittier Hospital doing lab work.

Bail was set at $3,500.

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Police Files

Email bomb threat hits North Laguna resident

On Thursday, Dec 13, at 11:43 a.m., at the 1000 block of N Coast Hwy, a person that lives in the same building as the Guitar Shoppe reported receiving an email bomb threat sent to her personal email, extorting money.

According to police reports, she said, “They are trying to extort money from [me] – if the subject does not receive the money, he is going to blow up the building.”

The woman reported that she didn’t believe the email was legitimate but wanted to report it just in case. The woman rents an apartment at the location and works out of her home.

The email read, “Explosive device petrol has been carried into your building. If any unusual activity is noticed my mercenary will activate the bomb.”

The person demanded $20,000 by the end of the day or the building would be blown up. 

The threat also stated, “We are not terrorist [sic] and do not assume responsibility of other explosives at other buildings. A mercenary is in the area watching. He will be called off when the payment is made in full.”

According to LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota, “This was the day people and places all over the US were receiving bomb threats. This was a scam and sent to a personal email with no direct affiliation or threat to the specific business.

Kidnapping threat by caller from Mexico thwarted

On Friday, Dec 14, at 12:48 p.m., at the 1200 block of Park Ave, a Laguna Beach resident received a phone call from a Mexico based phone number claiming her child was kidnapped and a demand for money was made. 

“The reporting party stated she could hear a child crying in the background but knew the child’s voice did not sound like her children’s voices,” Sgt Cota said. “SRO Corporal Ashton was able to confirm that the reporting party’s kids were actively in school: Thurston and TOW.”

Sgt Cota explained that this phone call was a scam consistent to the recent ones that have been ongoing in our country. LBPD investigations was advised of the incident and a report was taken.

As reported in Police Files last spring, for over three consecutive weeks spanning from the end of April to mid-May, several women in Laguna were targeted in a virtual kidnapping scam, a billion-dollar crime that continues to stalk the country. 

“If anybody receives a telephone call or email that they find suspicious in the least, please call the police department and we will verify the information you are receiving or the person that is calling you,” said Sgt Cota. “Don’t give credit card information, don’t give your social security number, and if at any point, you don’t recognize the number, the person or the company contacting you, call us to verify they are legit. One of our staff will personally call that number to make sure they are who they say they are.”

In most cases, the best course of action is to hang up the phone and call 9-1-1. For more tips and information, contact Sgt Cota at (949) 497-0701 or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Read more Police Files on our Front Page II – click here

Police Files (Cont.)

Husband & wife busted for alleged thefts and meth

On Thursday, Dec 13, at 8:10 a.m., LBPD officers responded to Hillcrest Drive and Louise Street for a suspicious unoccupied vehicle. Upon the officer’s arrival, it was determined the registered owner of the vehicle, a Lincoln Continental, was on probation.

Police Files Elizabeth FulcePolice File John Sparks“A probation search of the interior of the vehicle revealed several stolen wallets and other items. During the investigation, Laguna Hills resident John Sparks walked back to the vehicle and was contacted by officers,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said. 

John James Sparks, 31, of Laguna Hills, was arrested for possession of stolen property, petty theft, and a probation violation. 

“A probation search of Sparks and his wife’s residence revealed several other stolen items,” Sgt Cota added.

His wife, Elizabeth Dawn Fulce, 27, of Laguna Niguel, was also arrested for possession of narcotic paraphernalia and possession of methamphetamine.

Sparks and Fulce did not receive bail.

Fight at Main Beach – drugs and altered flare gun found

On Thursday, Dec 13, at 10:40 a.m., LBPD received a call regarding two male subjects who were reported to be pushing and arguing with each other at 312 Broadway St.

“Officers made contact and after searching the subjects they found homeless subject, Kenneth Koestler, to be in possession of a small amount of heroin,” Sgt Cota said.

Kenneth Lee Koestler 43, of Laguna Beach, was cited for possession of a controlled substance and trespassing. 

“The second subject, homeless subject Kelly Smith, was also found to be in possession of a methamphetamine, hypodermic needles, and four pills,  Alprazolam/Xanax, a schedule IV benzodiazepine, without a physician’s prescription,” Sgt Cota said.

“Additionally, a flare gun that was altered to resemble a firearm was located in his duffle bag,” Sgt Cota continued. “Smith was arrested and ultimately cited out from the station for possession of a controlled substance, possession of prescription pills without a physician’s prescription, trespassing, and possession of narcotic paraphernalia.”

Bail was set at $1,000 for Koestler. Bail is unknown for Smith.

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Police Files

Unlicensed driver from Dana Point demolishes three cars and injures two, DUI suspected

On Thursday, Dec 13, at 2:16 a.m., LBPD officers and LBFD personnel responded to Thalia Street and South Coast Hwy for a reported injury traffic collision. 

“When officers arrived on scene, they discovered three vehicles scattered along South Coast Hwy and Thalia Street,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said. 

LBPD and LBFD described the aftermath, “One of the vehicles, a white BMW, was facing eastbound in the number one northbound lane about 100 feet south of Thalia Street. Another vehicle, a Jeep, was at the southwest corner of Thalia and Coast and suffered major rear end and significant damage to both the driver and passenger sides. A third vehicle, a Tesla, had been moved from the roadway and was parked in the 200 block of Thalia,” Sgt Cota explained. “The right rear wheel of the Tesla was ripped off and was sitting in the number one southbound lane of Coast Hwy at Thalia Street.” 

Police Files Car Crash one

Click on photo for a larger image 

Courtesy of LBPD

South Coast Hwy was closed for several hours Thursday following suspected DUI crash that injured two people and totaled three cars

Sgt Cota explained how the accident happened. According to reports, the driver of the BMW was traveling southbound in the number one lane of Coast Hwy approaching Thalia Street at a high rate of speed. The BMW collided into the rear of the Jeep which was also southbound. The impact forced the jeep into a spin at which point it struck a tree and a traffic light pole on the northwest corner of Thalia Street and Coast Hwy ripping both from the ground.

The BMW continued southbound and struck the right rear of a Tesla, which was in the southbound left turn pocket to make a turn onto Thalia Street. This impact ripped the right rear wheel from the Tesla. The BMW continued southbound for about another 100 feet where it came to rest. 

“The driver of the Jeep, a Newport Beach resident, suffered a broken left arm. The passenger in the BMW received a broken hip and unknown damage to her vertebra. The driver of the Tesla was uninjured,” Sgt Cota said.

Police Files Car Crash two

Click on photo for a larger image 

Photo courtesy of LBPD

Guillermo Garcia Ventura, 29, Dana Point, was arrested on felony charges

The unlicensed driver of the BMW, Guillermo Garcia Ventura, 29, of Dana Point, was arrested on suspicion of DUI with a blood alcohol level over .08 percent, a felony charge.

Bail was set at $100,000.

Owner who reported stolen BMW finds car at Pavilions

On Tuesday, Dec 11, at 3:57 p.m., at the 600 block of N Coast Hwy, LBPD received a report of a stolen white BMW 328i. But instead of it actually being stolen, it turns out rather the BMW was parked in a safe location unscathed.

According to Sgt Cota, “The vehicle was located in the Pavilion’s parking lot. It is suspected the vehicle was left here and not actually stolen.”

Sizeable male genitalia symbol tagged at Crescent Bay Beach

On Sunday, Dec 9, at 8:47 a.m., an LBPD officer responded to the Crescent Bay Beach restrooms in response to vandalism at the 1200 block of Cliff Drive. The officer saw red paint on the side of the restrooms with the words “Derick” coupled with a very large genitalia symbol. 

According to Sgt Cota, “The graffiti was 3 feet by 10 feet wide. Public Works was notified to remove it asap.”

Police Files

Local man allegedly attacks local couple in Pavilions parking lot, cuts husband with knife

On Thursday, Dec 6, at 9:18 p.m., at the 600 block of N Coast Hwy, two Laguna Beach residents got into a verbal confrontation. According to reports, a 50-year-old Laguna Beach resident was in his car stopped in front of Pavilions waiting for his wife, who was finishing her shopping in the store. 

Just prior to the wife exiting the store, the 69-year-old suspect, Thomas Giles, also a Laguna Beach resident, reportedly knocked on the driver side window of the couple’s vehicle, a Mini Cooper.

“When the driver rolled his window down, Giles told the driver to move his “F---in” car. Giles then pulled a knife and poked it at the driver,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said.

Sgt Cota added, “The driver’s wife approached and Giles [allegedly] threatened to stab her. In an attempt to protect his wife, the husband exited the car and a verbal and physical fight ensued.”

Police Files GilesAccording to Sgt Cota, the husband sustained a laceration to the left side of his head. Medics were reportedly requested.

The suspect threw the knife into nearby bushes and then attempted to flee as officers arrived, reportedly leaving his BMW in the parking lot, said Cota.

“Giles was caught and the knife was located. The victim sustained a minor cut near his ear,” Sgt Cota said. 

Thomas Allen Giles, 69, Laguna Beach, was arrested for multiple charges including assault with a deadly weapon and criminal threats. Per his booking information, he listed his occupation as night auditor at Crystal Cove Cottages.

Bail was set at $80,000.

BMW stolen out of garage in North Laguna

On Wednesday, Dec 5, at 9:05 a.m., LBPD officer responded to a residence in the 600 block of Cliff Drive for a report of a stolen vehicle. The officers met with the reporting party, who stated that she parked her BMW 328i in the garage the day prior. 

“The vehicle was left unlocked with the key inside. She closed the garage door and took the remote with her,” Sgt Cota said. “The day of the incident she could not locate the garage remote, so she used a key to enter the garage and noticed her BMW had been stolen.” 

The reporting person believes that the suspect(s) located the garage door remote that she may have dropped outside. There are no suspects at this time, Sgt Cota added.

Police Files

Marine Safety wants beach-goers to be aware and be prepared for stormy conditions 

Marine Safety Capt Kai Bond said it’s important to take heed of the rainy conditions that have hit the area and Laguna’s beaches. 

“Anytime there’s lots of rain and lots of surf we tell people to be aware of their surroundings and stay off the rocks,” Capt Bond said.

He warned that the rocks with the high surf and high tides can be very dangerous, as can lightning. When lightning strikes there’s a protocol that Marine Safety and the City addresses when it hits within a certain distance of the beach.

“We essentially close the beach and water for a certain period of time until that lightning is no longer there,” Capt Bond said. “The particular closure that happened Thursday [yesterday] at 1:40 p.m. It was approximately 30 minutes based on the fact that there was a lightning strike within a 10-mile radius of the area.” 

It’s important for people in the water to get out as quickly as possible and seek shelter. 

Police Files Storms

Click on photo for a larger image 

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Laguna’s beaches closed on Thursday due to lightning danger

 “Heed the warning of any public safety personnel closing any particular area for any particular reason; it is for the good of public safety,” Capt Bond said. “Whether it be beach access or in this case a beach due to lightning, it’s important to follow the direction and warning from our police, fire, marine safety, and public works personnel.”

In any rain event, OC Health recommends that people stay out of the water up to 72 hours due to beach runoff.

“The Environmental Health staff advises swimmers that levels of bacteria can rise significantly in ocean and bay waters adjacent to storm drains, creeks and rivers during and after rainstorms. The elevated levels of bacteria can continue for a period of at least three days depending upon the intensity of the rain and the volume of the runoff. Swimmers should avoid coastal waters impacted by discharging storm drains, creeks and rivers, and beach users should avoid contact with any runoff on the beach during dry or wet weather conditions,” according to OC Health Agency at 

Myriad bacteria, chemicals, debris, and trash among other hazards from runoff can contaminate ocean waters and beaches after rain.

City’s first SRO puts students first hoping to 

make an impact that lasts

LBPD Corporal Cornelius Ashton is the City’s first SRO for LBUSD and he couldn’t be happier. He worked hard to make the position become a reality for Laguna Beach schools, importantly for the kids. 

Corporal Ashton has 18 years of law enforcement experience, including 15 years at the San Diego Community School District, and three years with LBPD.

With his prior role as a juvenile crime detective, Cpl Ashton found that whenever he was going to the high school or any of the schools it was always for negative situations.

“I started taking a hard look at what our police department is doing for positive engagement with our kids. I saw the need to have an SRO for our schools,” Cpl Ashton said. “I started looking further and saw that we were the only city to not have a dedicated School Resource Officer.”

Police Files Ashton High Five

Click on photo for a larger image 

Courtesy Instagram @lagunabeachpd_sro

Cpl Ashton loves engaging with students; he has a smile on his face everyday, living his dream

He dove in, researched, and wrote a proposal and gave it to his command staff. Through his findings, they saw a need for the SRO role. 

Starting this school year, he was given a two-year contract, and he’s making the most of every minute.

“I do so many things. I do a lot of mentoring for kids. They’re virtually implementing me into their school curriculum. Anywhere they feel I can educate the kids from a police perspective, I teach. It can be anything from health education to government to economics to just going to the classes,” Cpl Ashton said. “I have been working with the social emotion counselor on resilience, stress management, and I could go on and on. I do a lot of co-teaching.”

He takes part in a lot of school events, including WEB Wednesday, “Where Everybody Belongs”. It’s for diversity and inclusion.

“It shows that everyone can come together and everyone has a place,” Cpl Ashton said.

Police Files Ashton at El Morro

Click on photo for a larger image 

Courtesy Instagram @lagunabeachpd_sro

Cpl Ashton teaching El Morro Elementary students about Halloween Safety

He attends events and is really present on the campuses in myriad capacities. 

“My goal is for all the kids here to essentially grow up with a police officer,” Cpl Ashton said. “I feel the more positive interaction they have with police officers the more comfortable they are going to be around them in adulthood and the less likely they’re going to be involved in criminal activity.”

He explained that he wears a lot of different hats working with students, staff, parents, and administration.

“The synergy is just amazing. It’s so extremely positive,” he said.

While people think that there are so many issues going on at the local schools, he said it’s not true.

The main issue is learning coping skills.

“Helping kids to understand to slow things down and take things one at a time and not try to do so much at once. They get flustered easily they want to do well in every aspect of their life,” Cpl Ashton said. “I tell them they need to take time to break things down and sometimes they just need someone to hear them.”

He really encourages communication. He greets each student and asks how they are and really listens before he talks to the next student. It’s critical for each student to be heard and to empower them to be better.

“It’s more than I expected. I feel like I am living out my destiny in this role. My gifts are empowering and motivating. I am like a life coach. As a police officer, I have always had this gift to help people though problems, make them smile again, and see the best within themselves. It’s the most amazing feeling ever.” 

LBPD Cpl Ashton, SRO, wanted to make sure that anyone who wants to reach out to him can find him on Instagram at or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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