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The Orange County Sheriff's Museum & Education Center

preserves and shares the rich history of the Orange County Sheriff's Department, fosters an understanding of the role law enforcement has within the community, and promotes an educational environment for public safety and the community.

The Orange County Sheriff's Museum & Education Center, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization now under development to preserve the OCSD history, is actively seeking Department artifacts of all varieties for permanent housing in the Department Archives, and in the Museum, when constructed. Items sought—the older the better—include: badges; photographs; equipment such as handcuffs, batons, etc.; certain uniform components; arm and sleeve patches; scientific lab instruments; documents; ID cards; memoirs; biographies of deceased personnel; electronic equipment such as radios and radar units; and more. We would like to talk with you about long-forgotten items perhaps stuck away in a dresser drawer or the attic! Mail a list to P.O. Box 221, Los Alamitos, CA 90720. THANK YOU!

We invite you to browse the photos below, and hope you enjoy your visit to the past and present of the Orange County Sheriff's Department. Also, please enjoy the Orange County Sheriff's Museum & Education Center video below.

Sheriff Sandra Hutchens says farewell and shares her memories of 10½ years as Sheriff of Orange County, California. The Sheriff's Museum thanks Sheriff Hutchens for her support. 

2014 OCSD Museum and Education Center Video (Fine Cut)

2014 OCSD Museum and Education Center Video (Fine Cut)

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OCSD Formed on August 1, 1889


On August 1, 1889, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) was formed when a proclamation from the state legislature separated the southern portion of Los Angeles County and created Orange County. The entire department consisted of Sheriff Richard Harris and Deputy James Buckley, with an operating budget of $1,200 a year and a makeshift jail in the rented basement of a store in Santa Ana. They served a sparsely populated county of 13,000 residents, scattered throughout isolated townships and settlements. The problems faced by the first sheriff were typical for a frontier county—tracking down outlaws, controlling vagrancy, and attempting to maintain law and order across 782 square miles of farmland and undeveloped territory.

Today, Orange County has a population of over 3 million residents. OCSD has grown to over 4,000 employees, continues to serve unincorporated areas, providing Police Services to 13 contract cities, the Orange County Transportation Authority, John Wayne Airport, and much more.

Historical Accounts
By Clark Secrest, Department Archivist (Retired)