Camp Parks police chief temporarily relieved of duties

October 16, 2012 7:57:50 PM PDT
The police chief of Camp Parks in the East Bay has been temporarily relieved of his duties. Chief Stephen Morningstar is the focus of an investigation into not one, but two DUI arrests that occurred while he was off duty. It's what he did after his arrest and that is cause for concern. ABC7 has been investigating this story and this is a report you'll see only on ABC7 News.

Even though Camp Parks is an Army base, it has a civilian police force and the chief is Morningstar. A legal officer attached to the camp confirms he has been placed on administrative leave while they conduct their investigation.

Camp Parks is home to the Army's 91st Division. The base is used mainly to train some 11,000 reservists in the Bay Area. Military officials would not comment on the specifics of the investigation against Morningstar, but they told ABC7 News, "The information came to the Command from an outside source. We have an obligation to follow up. The chief has been placed on administrative leave with pay until we investigate."

Sources familiar with the investigation tell us that it centers on Morningstar's two DUI arrests and jail time which he apparently did not report to the camp's command. ABC7 News has obtained documents which show that the latest incident happened on December 11th last year at about 3:30 a.m.

The CHP arrested Morningstar and charged him with driving under the influence on Highway 680 near Castlewood Drive in unincorporated Alameda County. Officers say he was driving at a high rate of speed, weaving in and out of lanes.

Court records show this was the second time Morningstar was arrested for a DUI. The first was eight years ago in San Luis Obispo. He was then placed on probation. In April of this year, the chief appeared in Alameda County Superior Court where he was convicted on last December's offense.

Morningstar was sentenced to 11 days in jail and was placed on five years' probation and his license was suspended for two years. Both incidents are being investigated by a military unit comparable to the internal affairs of a civilian police department. Possible charges include off-duty misconduct and violation of Army regulation and policy.

Camp Parks did not answer our request for a copy of its policy on DUI arrests and our calls to Morningstar were also not returned.

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