Retired SBPD Lt. Donald Paul McCaffrey
SANTA BARBARA — Santa Barbara is a city where law enforcement is publicly proud of its strict enforcement of laws proscribing the operation of motor vehicles while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances.
However, following the 2016 debacle of local TV news anchor Paula Lopez’s avoiding jail time on felony DUI and assault charges— it was announced on January 22nd that retired Santa Barbara Police Lieutenant Donald Paul McCaffrey, who had been arrested on July 28, 2016, on charges of DUI, hit-and-run causing property damage, and resisting or delaying a law enforcement officer, would not be charged with DUI.
According to Santa Barbara Police Department Public Information Officer Sgt. Riley Harwood, McCaffrey “basically bumped into a parked car with very, very (sic) minimal damage and then he fled from the scene and fled from us.”
The alleged hit-and-run took place just one block away from SBPD Headquarters and the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office in the city’s busy downtown area, where McCaffrey was discovered a short time later “hiding in a parking lot.”
When contacted by uniformed patrol officers, McCaffrey allegedly resisted their attempts to take him into custody, exacerbating the situation and those charges pursuant to “him running away.”
McCaffrey, who served as SBPD Watch Commander and Public Information Officer prior to his 2014 retirement, has a history of defending officers accused of wrongdoing.
In 2011 he published commentary attempting to defend SBPD Officer Kasi Beutel in a long-running local scandal involving allegations that Beutel had falsified employment records, fraudulently submitted worker’s compensation claims, and forged DUI suspects’ signatures on arrest waivers.
Photo: Courtesy Santa Barbara Police Department