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Orange County CCW psych eval letter

Not exactly news but . . . DrVino sent us a copy of this letter from Lt. Matthew Stiverson of the Orange County, California Sheriff’s Office, Professional Standards Division. A little Google searching reveals that Lt. Stiverson gets a $140,584 annual salary (plus benefits and pension) to tell [selected] concealed carry weapons permits applicants they must have police psychologist Doctor Susan Saxe-Clifford (no conflict of interest there) judge whether or not they should be able to exercise their natural, civil and Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. A decision that will cost the applicant $150 on top of all the other fees and rigamarole. How great is that? Applicants would do well to read Dr. Saxe-Clifford’s essay on fitness for duty and detecting lies. Just sayin’  . . .

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  1. 2 things I can assure you from a long medical career: everybody is normal until you get to know them, and everybody is crazy, only a few of us get caught. Can’t wait to see if anybody get’s past the police shrink. Obviously they aren’t supposed to (unless applying for a law enforcement career).

    • I can guarantee you, nobody will get past that. Not a single person referred to that psychologist will be cleared. They do this because they’re looking for a reason to deny someone–and they WILL find a reason. They’ll lift another 150 bucks out of your pocket AND deny you your rights, all in one fell swoop. Win-win for the police.

      • That’s actually good for us.

        Send someone in there who has been found sane by other medical professionals and have this Dr. confirm them as crazy, then sue the absolute heck out of them for conspiracy to defraud you of your constitutional rights. I see absolutely no reason that the government can’t be found guilty of organized crime and sentenced under RICO statutes.

  2. I think every sworn officer employed by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office should also have psychological examinations, but not by the same doctor administering the examinations given to CCW applicants. There is a good chance that doctor is in cahoots with the Sheriff’s office. I bet there are a fair number of Orange County deputies that are psychologically unfit to be carrying a lethal weapon. What is good for the goose is also good for the gander.

    • I’m pretty sure a psych exam is part of every law enforcement job application process (I know it is for all NJ depts and NYPD)

      • And that has great success. If you think every one of those cops is fit to carry then you may need a checkup from the neck up. Cops have a very high rate of physical abuse at home. Oops did I say that out loud. Since this CCW ISSUE HAS GONE OUT OF CONTROL YOU DONT HEAR ABOUT ALL THE COPS THAT HAVE LETS JUST SAY ISSUES.

    • All sworn certified personnel are required to take psychological tests before being sworn. California state Law.

      State law also states that a psychological evaluation cannot be required. But they require it anyway to determine ‘good moral character’. Don’t take the requested examination, you must be of poor moral character. After all, moral people do what law enforcement tell them.

      What is being missed is that they want LTC (aka CCW) carriers to meet the standards of sworn officers. After all, it is best to be sure they meet the standards of officers to be granted the privileges of the sworn personnel.

      Not my thinking, theirs. After all, they enforce the law so they can decide what it means. Other things are words on a piece of paper.

      Oh, and the additional $150, also is in violation of California state law.

      • COMMENT MODERATED. The Penal Code specifically says that the issuing agency MAY require a psych eval under certain circumstances, that the examiner should be the same one used to evaluate officer candidates, AND that the fee shall not exceed $150. Go read the linked document–the applicable code sections are cited.

    • It is more than just a tax: it is a way to direct money to their cronies. I have to wonder what selection process the Orange County Sheriff office used to select Ms. Saxe-Clifford … and what kind of kickbacks are involved.

      • It’s not enough to move, get active wherever you happen to settle. Fortify your new home as best you can before the drones follow you.

        • Agreed. And QUIT trying to bring crazy Kalifornia ideas with you!
          There’s a reason you moved out of the crazy state. But then you want the same programs, benefits, and crap where you move! You’re just spreading a disease all across the country!
          I’ve had to put up with a Kalifornia nutcase nextdoor to me for more than 10 years. And yes – he’s pushing for the same shit here in Texas that he fled from in Kalifornia! GO BACK IF YOU WANT THAT CRAP – DON’T TRY TO FORCE IT DOWN SOMEONE ELSE’S THROAT! That’s why WE don’t live in Kalifornia!!

        • Chuck, people who flee CA because of gun rights, taxes, and other big government will definitely not bring it with them. If anything, they will be much more conservative than your average republican. It’s the ones who move because they get a better job offer in another state or something like that who bring the crap with them.

    • Easier said than done, Gunr, when one has, over the course of 42 years of California residence 1) grown 42 years older, which in my case makes me a geezer, and hence gotten that much closer to the terminal event, and 2) built up a social network of which you might have need as the shadows lengthen.

  3. Aren’t we supposed to be “shall issue” now?

    I would also like to point out that this is what passes for “conservative” in CA. Orange County is supposed to be our biggest conservative area.

    • We are not “shall issue,” but at least Peruta established that self defense is sufficient “good cause” for this issuance of a CCW–which this new document reflects. In the section concerning “good cause”, it did not used to list self defense, only the other categories. So it is an improvement. Also, southern counties used to REQUIRE three personal references, which was not authorized by the Penal Code–and now they are only “recommended” as establishing “good moral character.”

  4. As a LEO, I it is forbidden for me to recommend any private companies or persons for service while performing my duties. How in the world is this not a conflict of interest? They are using their official position to endorses and require the use of a specific individual for services.

    • That’s never been something I’ve taken seriously. If somebody wants to know how I feel about bullsh!t gun laws, GLOCKs, or The Ticket Clinic, I’ll just give my honest opinion unless Kcal 9 is up in my face.

      And the requirement of a psyche eval is definitely bullsh!t.

    • It does seem that way, but it’s the way the law is written. It stipulates that if a psych evaluation is required, it must be done by the same psychiatrist the issuing agency uses, and that the fee (payable by the applicant) not exceed $150.

  5. So you must pass a test before being allowed to exercise a right guaranteed by the Constitution? Sounds a bit like a Jim Crow law for the 2nd A.

    • A test that’s most assuredly rigged against you. That psychologist has probably been told “Deny EVERYONE we send you. Find a reason. Make something up if you have to, anything will do. Just don’t let anyone out there with a passing evaluation unless we tell you to do it.”

  6. Any hyphenated female should be viewed with suspicion and trepidation. A hyphenated female psychologist – not even a psychiatrist – is a 180-proof version of the same.

  7. In South Florida a police officer in his police car, chased his former girlfriend in her police car & shot at her 13 times. At a moving car. Aren’t police officers are given a psychological test?

    • Sure. And in many, many places if they don’ pass they’re hired. If they’re completely insane they become Management.

    • Yes, we do have a psychological evaluation in Florida to be a LEO. What is your point? As with the general population, there is always a certain amount of “bad apples”. Psychological evaluations are not an exact science, they are subjective and vulnerable to the shortcomings of the evaluator. Every time a LEO does something wrong, all LEO’s are made to look bad.

    • Yes. But it’s not what you think.

      A psych test for law enforcement determines if a candidate is a fit for the department. Candidates answer various questions like “do you like flowers?” or “Do you love your parents”. The psychiatrist then “graphs” the answers where a candidate lands between “highly passive” and “highly aggressive”. The department gives the psychiatrist their “ideal” candidate (somewhere on the passive or aggressive end. It varies by department). The psychiatrist then makes a recommendation based on the results and what the department wants.

      Failure does not mean someone is crazy.

      I don’t know why everyone puts so much stock in psychiatrists, though. Look at Nidal Hassan. They’re people, subject to their own biases. Just like anyone else.

  8. “Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute.” And this is tribute.

    This is no more acceptable than an IQ test as a prerequisite to voting or an ideology test a prerequisite to free speech. We must fight any and every such effort by the government to precondition the exercise of fundamental rights.

    • If we had an IQ test for voting, there would never be another Democratic president. Frankly I think you may have something there.

    • Using mental health as a qualifier for exercising a natural right is also going to be a slippery slope. Bite your nails? You’ve got a mental health issue. If it’s in the DSM, it must be significant, donchaknow.

  9. RF, I get what your saying, I think. I had to undertake a “mental health check” post Newtown for my NCCHP. Here’s the problem with the details, that I have. In Kalifornia, it’s a CCW license, basically, a permit. But you have to admit that a licenses and permits, are antithetical to a right. They are infringements. So yes, yoy are jumping through hoops for your infringed right, which should be criminal and treasonous.

    • The NC mental health check is/was a RECORDS check of regional hospitals. Some Sheriff’s offices tried to make applicants pay an additional fee ($10 to $15 per hospital) for this as well. I think the legislature addressed that in the reforms about a year ago, but I could be mistaken about that.

  10. I’m wondering if this is a back door way to basically say someone is mentally incompetent to own firearms. Now comes the midnight raid to seize any and all guns.
    After all, it’s logical to assume that since you apply for a permit, you own a gun.
    This is seriously messed up.

    • In California you put the serial numbers and descriptions of the weapons you wish to carry (limit 3, which you must own, and which most agencies require not to have been SSEd) on your application, so no presumption is necessary.

  11. Please tell me that Dr. Fraud and Sheriff Scumbag will both be sharing a cell after they’re arrested, charged, and convicted under RICO.

  12. Wouldn’t the Due Process clause place the burden of proof on the State to produce evidence that a person is not psychologically competent? Why are CCW applicants treated as guilty until proven innocent?

    (Yes, it’s Rhetorical. Screw California.)

  13. This seems to be a one-off : nobody else who has gone through the OC CCW approval process has reported being referred to a psychiatrist for an interview. It’s could be a beginning of a new trend, or something in applicant’s record has set off a red flag.

    • I did drive from laguna beach to Encino. Went through to very long tests. Also interview.
      Received reject letter about 2 weeks later.
      Oh by the 22 year retired senior NCO usaf flight engineer/ airborne gunner.3 combat tours vietnam 1970,71,72. Also was pulled out of retirement after ,29 days for Desert Shield. Again as flight engineer on C141 B pass/cargo aircraft.
      And I am not morally good enough? REALLY?? ,Who, then,is?? CHRIST maybe??
      ,after roughly 600 dollars, non refundable fees to orange county. NO response on quiry; about 3 personal referrence letters. I did not submit as it stated, ” not required”
      Thank you

  14. Is their a legislator in California who can write a law that requires anyone who wishes to practice a religion obtain an application and submit it to the local sheriff for review and approval? I would really like to see how far that would go and when it finally gets killed use the process to do the same to repeal laws restricting gun rights. Does this make sense or am I missing some not so subtle point of law?

    • How would you like a law that requires anyone with a mouth, at least a single lung, and vocal cords to register as a “public speaker” before going out in public for fear they may enter a crowded theater and yell “Fire!”.

  15. As a test for a license issued by a public agency, shouldn’t the test be standardized and published ?

    There must be some sort of “formal relationship” between public sector agencies and psychologists in the LA area. Why can’t an applicant go to a psychologist listed with their insurance provider? Oh yeah… that would be impartial.

    • Dr. Hyphen Name: “So, you would like to video record this interview?”
      Applicant: “Yes ma’am, I would.”
      Dr. HN: “And why is that?”
      A: “To make sure I am given a fair assessment.”
      Dr. HN, in her notes: “Paranoid delusions, DENIED!”

  16. To make matters worse, the driving distance between the OC Sheriff’s Dept. and the Police Psychologist’s office is 51 miles.

  17. For employment purposes, this makes sense. However someone carrying a gun already owns the gun.

    This is irrelevant, and shouldn’t survive a court challenge as unreasonable and arbitrary ( as hell ).

    • Dream on. the statute has been on the books for years. You don’t here about it much because only the “no issue” counties have required it in the past. All the Legislature has to say is that there is an increased risk of harm to the public at large of people carrying concealed weapons, and therefore it is important to determine if applicants are sufficiently mature and stable to limit the risk that they’ll blow a gasket and start shooting. This will establish that the law is “reasonable”. And the courts will uphold it, absent evidence that the option to require the testing is being abused as a method of denying otherwise qualified applicants.

  18. You know, it would help do a modicum of research on the doctor before passing judgment on her.

    The officer’s salary isn’t all that much money, especially in California. That salary translates to all of about $84K or so in Houston, Texas. I was making more than that years ago as a freshly minted M.B.A. with all of about five years experience at the time. Posting his salary, albeit public record, smacks of doxxing, and it’s inappropriate.

    “…concealed carry weapons permits applicants they must have police psychologist Doctor Susan Saxe-Clifford (no conflict of interest there)….”

    She’s a “police psychologist”, in lower case letters, meaning she specializes in that field, not that she’s a “Police Psychologist”, meaning a staff employee of the Police Department. She’s not a cop, she owns and operates her own independent firm. I know, I know, the police are her clients, so she’ll rubber stamp whatever they say, right? Well, she’s been in this business since 1979 and has a client base throughout southern California. She isn’t dependent on any single department’s business.

    Speaking of which, are you aware that she also does police officer cadet examinations, too? Are you aware that the typical rejection rate of applicants on psychological or ill-fitting motives grounds is around 60%? Her rejection rate is around 20%. Now, one might interpret that as just being pro-police and not wanting to gum up the recruitment drive of her clients. Perhaps, although that doesn’t explain why her peer, presumably as bootlicking and police department deferential as she is, would have much higher rejection rates, now does it?

    She explains her professional philosophy and how it impacts her responsibility. She’s written that the state of psychology science simply is not sufficiently advanced to pinpoint specifically each, and only each, bad apple candidates Therefore, her responsibility is just to weed out just the worst ones and prevent them from getting a badge. Her job, according to her, is NOT to pick all of the best ones and award them a badge.

    She explicitly states that that’s up to the police board to make that final determination. She just weeds out the worst. So why wouldn’t she carry that same limited approach over to concealed carry license applicants, and not all of a sudden view herself as an omniscient gatekeeper? Likewise she examines officers following line-of-duty shootings, and not everyone makes the cut for returning to the streets.

    My advice for whomever receives a letter like this, is to reflect upon your own motivations for seeking to carry a concealed weapon and communicate them honestly to this psychologist. If you’re gung-ho to get into a shootout, or if you believe carrying a firearm will make you a more confident, assertive individual and therefore more worthy of respect, then perhaps you shouldn’t carry in the first place.

    That said, I don’t believe in the entire process of licensing for owning and/or carrying firearms, concealed or otherwise. Nevertheless, that is the law and licensing has been upheld as being constitutional. Californians and all Americans should work to change those laws, to be sure. In the meantime, it’s unseemly to bash these professionals for, what, doing their jobs and abiding by the law?

    • 1. The Lt.’s salary may be inline with other similar professions but that does not change the fact that he’s earning his crust – at least in part – by infringing on Californians’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms.

      His salary may seem irrelevant but taxpayers – the people whose rights he’s denying, delaying and degrading – are paying his salary.

      Would you be galled by a government worker paid minimum wage to censor your Internet posts? Would you be more offended if he or she was getting payed over $100k plus benefits and pension? I am.

      2. Whether the police shrink is the police shrink or The Police Shrink she’s still a police shrink. She does business – intimately, daily and profitably – with the people who have a vested interest (currently) in denying residents’ CCW permits.

      More than that, as you know, the police and non-police have an entirely different mindset regarding armed self-defense. Her work experience makes her a particularly poor judge of the psychological aptitude for non-LEO defensive gun use.

      And again, whether she does it well or not, the work she’s doing is unconstitutional. I would say unconscionable. (Not to go all Godwin’s on you but there’s no such thing as a “good” Nazi.) Someone who doesn’t respect my rights has no business passing judgement on my fitness to exercise them.

      • Correct.

        And the good Lieutenant’s salary is public information, so doxxing it corresponds exactly to publishing the (published) Civil Service GS pay scale being doxxing.

        • Hi Larry, I’m not 100% sure of the word origin of “doxxing”, but I always understood it to mean documenting, as if the term were inspired by the “.doc” or “docx” Word file extensions. Doxxing in that sense means documenting, or more precisely, resorting to some online sleuthing of whatever documents are available, to ascertain personal information about someone and then post it online. Similar to outing, I suppose, but it needn’t be any deep, dark personal secret. It could be piecing together seemingly disparate facts the person himself volunteers, and then narrowing it down to identify him personally by name and address, for example.

          Or it could be just looking up readily available public information, such as pay scales, in this case. Some may not agree with that second interpretation, however, since it’s public information anyway and doesn’t entail any real detective work, just google. I’m not a huge fan of publicly available records to begin with, but there are legitimate reasons for it and that cat’s already out of the bag. So there’s not much I can do about it but call it out.

          Regardless, if something is only at best marginally relevant to the story, I’d rather not have people rooting around the archives just to have something additional to write about it.

  19. The whole CCW/CHL process is asinine. A person knows the law. They want to carry a weapon. Instead of just carrying the weapon, they ask permission. This very act should show they are sane and law-abiding. Add fees, courses and requirements, this is so effed up.

  20. Imagine the liberal shitstorm that would happen if a woman received a letter requiring a psych exam in order to have an abortion.

      • Or just to be a mother. Maybe we should push for laws that regulate motherhood: every year moms would need to renew their Mother License by proving they are fit to take care of anyone under 18, getting a clean background check, and paying a fee. If they can’t do that: take their kids away!…… I’d like to see how Moms Demand Action feel about that!

  21. Far be it from me to defend the police industry (or pshrinks) but the “Dr” is correct with her 2008 (pre Obuma economy) story at the site Dan mentioned above.

    Have a deputy living my small town hired about 10yrs ago (during the Bush economic boom) who is widelly regarded by the community as being many bales short of a stack. Previous employment being of the unskill minimum wager +10% type, But at 4% unemployment (at the time) the chief qualification was the ability to fog a mirror 2 out of 3 attempts. Once hired, just try to fire.

  22. I’m impressed that he could find the ONLY psychologist in California to do the evaluations.

    No, I don’t smell a thing….

  23. Dear Orange County Sherriff,

    I most uncordially and heartily invite you to attempt aerial fornication with a rotationally transiting toroidal pastry.

    Preferably with a cactus inserted in your lower colon.

    Sincerely, The Citizens.

  24. This is where I have a problem with “mental illness” talk. Nobody will ever get okay’d to have a permit if they have to go to a county chosen Doctor. This is what they want all over the country.

    • It sounds to me like you might be just a little paranoid, Sir.
      Are you taking medication for that? And if not, why not?
      Do you have any guns in your house?

  25. Not to mention that this doctors office that they are referring people to is almost 1.5-2 hours away from Orange County. That’s one way folks! This is complete BS. I have applied with OC Sheriffs and have already paid my $230 for my CCW class and awaiting for further processing, in which case I will have to pay another $100 or so for my live scan finger printing. This seems ridiculous.

  26. It is true there is a clause that they can mandate you have the exam. BUT they cannot send you to THEIR doctor. First, if you fail (which most will because the doctor is biased) you will go into the apps list and set you up for confiscation. If you go get 3 other doctors findings then you have a legal battle on your hands. Can you afford a legal battle? Time for the gun groups to step in. We should be able to use our own doctors. It’s unethical for them to lie.

  27. Interestingly, there is no requirement for psychological testing, nor is it explicity authorized by the act, it only says “if” it is required by the licensing authority. Which makes it not a law, but an administrative act, which makes it quite vunerable to Constitutional challenge. Even more so when to own a gun you don’t need psycological testing.

  28. Didn’t realize cops in OC made that kind of money. It’s still a joke by California standards, but way more than a government peon should be making.

    This requirement is a blatant disobedience of recent court rulings. This sheriff should be held in contempt, fined and imprisoned. One can dream of true justice.

  29. I just got finished with the entire process. I received the same form letter. The meeting at the psychologist was very professional. The psychologist is a police psychologist that is used by many law enforcement agencies. They only take cash, and the same for the parking it’s cash only. I overheard the receptionist say they are on contract with 10 agencies. For those going through the process the psychologist appointment takes 4-5 hours. There is three hours of paper work, there was the MMPI exam which was nearly 600 questions to see the types of questions on that test just google MMPI, writing a two page hand written auto biography, another test that I don’t remember the name that was 185 questions. It took about three hours to fill everything out, then meeting with the psychologist was another hour. Because there were so many police applicants at the office that day there was a 90 minute break between the paperwork and meeting with the psychologist. There are plenty of eating places within walking distance, and it’s a nice area. Driving from OC to Encino in traffic took about three hours one way, so it made for a very long day. It was all worth it because I now have my CCW.

    • What’s truly scary about this is that many antis would read it and think “well, it’s a small step in the right direction”.


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