TODD HYLTON, Chief of Dana Point Police Services
As the Chief of Police Services for the City of Dana Point, I take seriously our responsibility to provide professional law enforcement services to the residents and visitors. When a copy of this letter was sent to me, I immediately contacted the involved deputy and reviewed the body-worn camera footage of the incident.
I was stunned at how this traffic stop was misrepresented in the letter.
The footage shows the deputy observe a vehicle that stops and unloads a passenger along a red curb directly in-front of a fire station. The block had signage prohibiting passenger drop-offs, because it could hinder an emergency response. The deputy initiates a traffic stop and asks for the Uber driver’s license and insurance. He calmly informs the Uber driver of the reason for the stop, and the driver states that he did not see the posted signs.
The passenger who was dropped off intervenes and begins talking with the deputy, stating that he was the one who told the Uber driver to stop. The deputy informs the passenger that he is giving the Uber driver a parking ticket, and not a moving violation, which does not affect his driving record. The passenger thanks the deputy; the deputy issues the citation, and all part ways.
The letter uses words like “angry” and “verbally berated” to describe the deputy’s behavior. This could not be further from the truth. He was professional and calm during this interaction. I wish I could share the body-worn camera footage, but Department policy prohibits me from doing so.
I debated whether to write this letter, but decided to do so because it is important for the residents of Dana Point to know what truly occurred.
While there may be disagreements about the need to stop someone for a traffic infraction, there is no room for encouraging divisiveness between the police and the community. We are here to serve you and keep you safe.
The greatest optic we can hope for is a city with residents and visitors working together with law enforcement under the umbrella of respect, integrity, and professionalism.