Deputy Steven Edward Parsons was born on February 1, 1964 in Pasadena, California and became much more than a man who tragically died at the age of 36. During his lifetime, Steve Parsons touched many lives – as a son, husband, father, friend and Deputy Sheriff. Steven acted as a role model for most who crossed his path – always intent on being the best he could possibly be and inspiring others to do the same.
Steven spent much of his formative years in Pasadena but eventually moved from Los Angeles to Orange County. In 1982, he graduated from Costa Mesa High School. Parsons went on to earn his AA degree in General Education at Orange Coast College and then continued his education at California State University, Long Beach. In 1988, he graduated from CSULB with a B.S. degree in Criminal Justice. Shortly thereafter, in 1989, Parsons was selected and appointed as a Deputy Sheriff Trainee with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. The following year, he graduated from the Basic Academy and was assigned to work in the Intake/Release Center. He was not done furthering his education, however. He returned to Cal State Long Beach and obtained his Masters of Public Administration in 1993. Parsons was quickly promoted to Deputy Sheriff II and, in 1994, was transferred to South Operations Divison Patrol. The following year, he was assigned to the city of Laguna Hills and became the first deputy in the city to be on motorcycle patrol.
As is the custom, the background of a Sheriff’s Deputy applicant involves intense scrutiny from the date of birth to the date of application. This literally includes a person’s entire life. Prior to being sworn as a Deputy Sheriff, Steve worked as a busboy, payroll clerk, sales clerk, student police department intern, operations manager and procurement coordinator. The comments provided by previous employers echoed those mentioned by his future supervisors within the Sheriff’s Department who expressed such official comments as:
“His progress has been remarkably rapid,” “His consistent productivity during this rating time is the highest I have ever seen, and that covers a lot of good deputies,” “He is calm, professional and businesslike in his demeanor” and “His unusually high number of traffic enforcement and citizen contacts never resulted in even one Personnel Investigation – a situation much against the odds, which speaks well for his communication and public relations skills. Based upon his skills, Deputy Steven Parsons was nominated and named Deputy Sheriff of the Year for 1998 for the city of Laguna Hills.”
In his nomination for the coveted Gold Star Award, less than three weeks before his death, Steve Parsons was lauded as “having single-handedly impacted traffic safety resulting in significant decreases in traffic accidents.” “During Steve’s first year as a motorcycle enforcement officer, his hard work and relentless drive resulted in traffic citations increasing over 150%, while traffic accidents were reduced by an astounding 40%.”
Deputy Parsons’ family, friends, fellow deputies and the public he served every day in Laguna Hills, will sorely miss him. His colleagues described him as being totally wrapped up in his family. His constant comments to fellow deputies about his wife and children always showed both admiration and meaningful pride. “He was the first deputy selected for a motorcycle assignment in Laguna Hills. He was always a hard charger, had the needed tenacity and never rested.” He was often asked to “SLOW DOWN” because others couldn’t keep up with him.
One of his best friends, and a fellow traffic officer, speaks of the time Steve stopped a young man on a small motorcycle because he had no helmet. After “meaningful dialogue,” the rider was allowed to ride home on the condition he obtain an approved helmet. Some weeks later, another deputy saw the motorcyclist riding down the street. The rider proudly pointed to his helmet which was inscribed on the back with “PARSONS APPROVED” accompanied by a happy face. This is but one example of the overall impact Deputy Parsons had upon the citizens of South Orange County, particularly those he faithfully served in the city of Laguna Hills.
On June 24, 2000, Deputy Steven Parsons was involved in a traffic collision in Laguna Hills while on motorcycle patrol. He passed away from his injuries. Steve is survived by his wife Kathy and his two children – daughter Kelsey, who was six at the time of the crash, and his son Nathan, who was three.