Prosecutors say 43-year-old Kirk Lotzgesell stole the money while he was treasurer for the Orange County Cop Bowl Association between 2007 and 2009. He allegedly wrote checks to himself and made ATM withdrawals from the organization's account for personal expenses.
The group raises money by organizing football games with other police and fire departments. The funds go toward youth scholarships.
Lotzgesell is charged with the felony count of grand theft and faces a maximum sentence of three years in state prison if convicted.
Lotzgesell was a police officer with the La Habra Police Department until January 2006.
He is being held on $60,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned on Monday.