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Guardians of the Water: OCSD Harbor Patrol

In August, Jason Sanford of OCinSite featured the Orange County Sheriff's Department Harbor Patrol division.

Deputy Dennis Breckner is not a novice to the force; he’s “been there, seen that” as a 15-year veteran of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department—except, of course, for the time that 35-year-old Sloan Briles threw his 10-year-old son overboard from a harbor cruise and then belligerently resisted arrest at the hands of the Orange County Sheriff deputies—he’d never seen that before.

“That was crazy, that this guy would do that to his own son in the middle of a busy harbor,” he says. “That brings up all sorts of child endangerment charges, and then he went limp on purpose when deputies tried to arrest him.”

Thankfully, it’s not every day that Harbor Patrol deputies have to worry about kids being thrown overboard by their drunken, manic fathers, but alas, it is one of the many things that they’re prepared for.

“Our job description includes a lot … it’s very extensive learning,” explains Deputy Gary Lewellyn, also a 15-year veteran of the department.

In addition to patrolling and enforcing the laws in Newport harbor—from speeding to reckless behavior—the Harbor Patrol conducts search and rescues as well as a hodgepodge of Homeland Security missions all the way up and down the 43 miles of Orange County coastline, including inside and outside the Huntington, Newport and Dana Point harbors. 

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