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OC sheriff recalling PSR badges

August 25, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
In Orange County, Sheriff Sandra Hutchens is making good on her promise to recall hundreds of personal services responder or PSR badges. But not all people awarded PSR badges during Sheriff Carona's tenure have turned them in.The similarities in appearance between a Professional Services Responder badge and a OC Sheriff Deputies badge has Sheriff Sandra Hutchens asking for the 470 PSRs to return their badges.

"Do I think they are going to do anything inappropriate? No, I do not. But if that badge became lost and or stolen I'm the one who issued it, anything that results from that is a liability to me, the OCSD and the county," said Sheriff Hutchens.

The former OC Sheriff Michael Carona created a special category of reserves and filled it with some of the county's richest and influential residents.

Carona resigned as sheriff in January to focus on his upcoming federal corruption trial.

Former Assistant Sheriff Don Haidl told federal agents that Carona allegedly gave badges to a number of people in exchange for $1,000 donations to his 1998 campaign for sheriff. Carona denied handing out badges as political favors.

The new sheriff wanting to focus on what the program is today stressed PSRs donated 14,000 hours of their own time this year.

"We could absolutely not function without them," said Sheriff Hutchens.

PSR Dr. Kenneth Cheng, who volunteers with Search and Rescue, says the program allows people, like himself, to give back to the community. He had no problem returning his badge.

"Whether there's a black eye or not I turned my badge in. I'm continuing to service because I'm not doing this for the badge," said Dr. Kenneth Cheng.

Sheriff Hutchens says so far, out of 470 PSRs, less than 200 have returned the badges. She has no deadline in place yet for people to turn them in.

 

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