A passerby shot cellphone video this week that appears to show a Moreno Valley police officer asleep behind the wheel of his patrol cruiser, sparking an internal investigation by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
A man who did not want to be identified said he shot the video on Wednesday morning after returning home from running errands with his son. He had previously spotted the patrol car parked near his home and it was still there when he returned. He said he decided to record several minutes later and the police officer did not wake up.
The man later shared the video with the Facebook page “Moreno Valley Matters” and has since been viewed about 55,000 times and has more than 680 comments.
“It concerns me for his safety, first and foremost,” the man told KTLA. “Police officers have to make life and death decisions all the time. He added that whatever the reason the police officer was not fully alert, “it can cause negative consequences if he’s not clear-minded.”
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, which contracts with Moreno Valley, has launched an internal investigation into the matter.
Deputy Armando Muñoz told the Press Enterprise that the department has a policy against sleeping while at work, and that any any punishment will be based on the outcome of the investigation.
“I would hate to see that officer lose his job over it, however, i think for the greater good,” the man who recorded the video said. “People should know that when you’re tired, especially when you have a duty like he does, you should be sleeping at home.”