Friday, April 17, 2009

Orange County Probation turns 100

Today, the Orange County Probation Department held a party at the Lamoreaux Justice Center to celebrate their agency's 100th year. There was a nice display of historical artifacts and documents, including this great portrait (above) of David R. McMillan, who served as Chief Probation Officer from 1939 to 1967. (During World War II, Carl S. Warner served as interim Chief until McMillan's return from military service.)
The exhibit (see photo below) also included such documents as the log of the County's juvenile detention facility, with entries as early as 1910. My favorite entry from the first page: "May 24, 1910. Ida S____. Age 14. Incorrigible. Sent to the Orange County Detention Home, May 25 by order of Judge West. ...Ida [ran] away with a Mexican and lived with him as man and wife for six months."
Said one wisenheimer, after reading this entry aloud, "I think they call that 'Spring Break' today."
In the photo below, County Supervisors Nguyen and Moorlach and Chief Probation Officer Colleene Preciado were among the many dignitaries wishing the agency a happy birthday.
The many historical documents unearthed by the Probation Dept. in preparation for their centennial will soon be given to the Orange County Archives, where they will be available for current and future generations of historians. The history of law enforcement agencies is usually pretty interesting, and this is no exception.


aruna said...

Thank you for the info. It sounds pretty user friendly. I guess I’ll pick one up for fun. thank u

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vielleur said...

> The many historical documents unearthed by the Probation Dept. ...will soon be given to the Orange County Archives

Do you know what happened to the wonderful portrait of David R. McMillan? Did it go in this archives, too? I understand it has been in storage for many years and not on display at the Probation Department.

David R. McMillan was my grandfather. Besides being a great Chief Probation Officer, he also received a Carnegie Hero medal for rescuing two trapped men from a burning automobile in 1952. You can read about it at

If you can tell me anything about the current whereabouts of this painting, I would really appreciate it.

--Michael D. McMillan

Anonymous said...

I was incarcerated at the David R. McMillian school around 1965 and spent approximately one year there. At that time Michael O'Hara was the Director and a wonderful man with a great sense of humor. He took a personal interest in me when I really needed an adult role model. It was the best of times in a way and the worst of times as our freedom had been taken away. I excelled in the terrific personalized school as I was a good student and loved to read and study. Anyone who was institutionalized at that time at DRM, or staff members, please feel free to contact me at