The Orange County Law Enforcement Emerald Society (OCLEES) is a social, fraternal, charitable, non-profit, multiagency organization with the goal of fostering goodwill among the numerous law enforcement agencies within the communities of Orange County. Additionally our goal is to instill, preserve and celebrate the heritage, accomplishments and the dedication of the Irish American Law Enforcement Officers, past and present, and their Gaelic culture.
Each year the Society hosts several events which provide an opportunity for law enforcement professionals to meet and develop relationships to improve communication and cooperation between the numerous local, state and federal agencies, and like-minded associations throughout Orange County and neighboring counties. This improved communication between agencies results in safer communities and an improved quality of life for all residents and visitors to the Southern California region.
The first “Emerald Society” was started in 1953 by the New York Police Department (NYPD). Three years later, in 1956, members of the New York City Fire Department started the first Fire Emerald Society. The popularity of the Emerald Society grew in and around New York City in the 1950’s and by 1958, 8 societies had been established. The ancient Celtic tradition, to play the pipes at a fallen comrade’s funeral, was brought over by the Irish to police and fire departments. As such, the NYPD Emerald Society started the first police pipe band in 1960, followed by the FDNY pipe band in 1962. Over 50 Emerald Societies exist in the United States today.
The west coast was not represented by an Emerald Society until members of the Los Angeles Police Department organized in 1992 to form the Los Angeles Police Emerald Society (LAPES), followed by the San Francisco Bay Area Law Enforcement Emerald Society (SFBALES) in 1998, San Diego Law Enforcement Emerald Society (SDLEES) in 1999, Inland Empire Emerald Society (IEES) in 2006, Orange County Fire Emerald Society (OCFES) in 2012, and now the Orange County Law Enforcement Emerald Society (OCLEES) in 2019.
The Orange County Law Enforcement Emerald Society (OCLEES) was started August 10, 2019 by officers from the Orange Police Department, Cypress Police Department, and Placentia Police Department. The first members to serve on the Executive Board were:
· President: Randal Houston (Orange Police Department; sworn - retired)
· Vice President: Jeffrey Swift (Cypress Police Department; sworn - active)
· Treasurer: Ward Smith (Placentia Police Department; sworn - retired)
· Secretary: Amy Carr (Orange Police Department; non-sworn - active)
· Sergeant at Arms: Craig Brown (Orange Police Department; sworn - active)
· Chaplain: open
· Associate Representative: open
The Orange County Law Enforcement Emerald Society is proud to have members representing the following agencies:
· Anaheim Police Department
· Cypress Police Department
· Drug Enforcement Administration / United States Department of Justice
· Irvine Police Department
· Orange County Peace Officers Association
· Orange County Sheriff’s Department Coroner Division
· Orange Police Department
· Placentia Police Department
The Orange County Law Enforcement Emerald Society ranks include personnel from Federal, State, County, Local Law Enforcement Agencies, and Civilians. The Orange County Law Enforcement Emerald Society is an independent entity and is governed by the by-laws established and maintained by our membership. The Orange County Law Enforcement Emerald Society is open to all law enforcement officers, active or retired. Non-sworn or civilians (family, friends, individuals with interest) who support the Emerald Society and law enforcement mission and values are also welcome as associate members. The Orange County Law Enforcement Emerald Society is not affiliated with any governmental agency. Members and supporters are only required to possess the vague and undefined “Irish Spirit”.
Orange County Law Enforcement Emerald Society ranks include:
Active Member Sworn peace officers, active and retired. (voting privileges)
Associate Member Any person sponsored by two OCLEES members who are in good standing; or by application and vetted by committee. (non-voting rank)
Honorary Member Any person recognized as such by the OCLEES executive board. (non-voting rank)
Corporate Member Business supporter of OCLEES sponsored by two OCLEES members who are in good standing; or by application and vetted by committee. (non-voting rank)
Active Member $30 annual or Lifetime $400
Associate Member $25 annual or Lifetime $335
Honorary Member $0 (recognition status - donations and/or contributions welcome)
Corporate Member $300 annual
We ask for your help in recruiting new participants and corporate supporters. We encourage our members to use our corporate member’s services which can be found on our webpage; www.oclees.com. We have our established our IRS EIN and are in the process of procuring our non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization status.
The Orange County Law Enforcement Emerald Society members attend Irish-themed gatherings, community events, and celebrations, to inform the community of our mission. Members and supporters host events designed to raise funds and honor officers who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their community. These funds are used to support memorials, assist families of the fallen, and other programs that the membership is interested in supporting. We foster good will among members of law enforcement and civilian communities throughout Southern California and beyond. We acknowledge the accomplishments and dedication of Irish American and All Law Enforcement Officers. We promote and educate the public about our Gaelic and law enforcement heritage.
Fraternal Crest / Coat of Arms flown by the Orange County Law Enforcement Emerald Society:
Celtic Harp (ceilteach cláirseach) representing:
- Colors Green, White, Orange colors of Irish tricolour (trídhathach na hÉireann), the national flag and ensign of the Republic of Ireland
- 7 pins (cnagan) on the neck (amhach) OCLEES Executive Board
- Strings (teudan) Communication (OCLEES ranks & executive board)
- Soundbox (com) & 10 circle knots OCLEES ranks (membership)
- Forepillar (làmh-chrann) & 11 circle knots Strength for harmony as an organization
- Weeping drippings Reverence for passed Fir Na Dli (men of law) , friends, and family
Celtic Shamrock (ceilteach seamróg) representing:
- Shamrock National symbol Ireland. Celtic folklore (na seanchaí) the
three petals are considered to bring good luck. It is also paying tribute to folklore that Saint Patrick used the shamrock to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity
- Celtic knotting "thin blue line" is a phrase that refers figuratively to the
position of law enforcement in society as the force which holds back chaos, allowing order and civilization to thrive
Claddagh (fáinne chladaigh) emblem of Irish identity representing:
- Heart held by the hands Love
- Crown placed on the heart Loyalty
- Hands holding the heart Friendship
- Heart represented by Celtic Triquetra Threefold promise “to love, to honor, to protect”
- Hands represented by Skeleton form Fearlessness, sacrifice, protection
- Crown adorned with Shamrock Pride in Irish or Gaelic Roots
- Crown adorned with Celtic Cross Four cardinal points on a compass and the four elements of earth (west), fire (south), air (east), and water (north)
- Crown adorned with 24 Emeralds Emerald is the stone of inspiration, patience, and unity
24 symbolizes cooperation, diplomacy, and balance in the service of others
The Orange County Law Enforcement Emerald Society hosts meetings once every quarter (see website www.oclees.com for dates and information).