"June 23, 2005
A Skyline man who prosecutors said passed himself off as a police officer has pleaded not guilty to charges that he took a loaded gun into a downtown San Diego courthouse.
Timothy David Higley, 29, who works as a security guard, is also accused of stopping a motorist in August 2003, although he had no legal authority to do so. He also faces a false registration charge for having illegal California-exempt license plates on his car in October.
If convicted, Higley could be sent to prison for up to six years and four months. He is being held in county jail in lieu of $100,000 bail.
Deputy District Attorney Mary-Ellen Barrett told a San Diego Superior Court judge Monday that Higley showed up at the Hall of Justice June 9 to testify as a witness in a court hearing.
Before his arrival, Higley called a secretary in the District Attorney's Office to say he was running late and asked whether he would be allowed to appear in his security guard uniform.
The secretary told him it was OK.
However, Higley made no mention of a gun or a can of pepper spray, both of which were attached to his uniform, Barrett said. She explained that Higley's uniform looks similar to that of a sheriff's deputy but that he didn't have a Sheriff's Department badge.
"He believes he is a sworn police officer and he is not," she told the judge. She said Higley asked authorities three other times whether he could bring a weapon into the courthouse and each time was told no.
State law prohibits anyone from carrying a weapon into a public building, except peace officers on official business and people who are transporting weapons into court to be used as evidence.
Defense attorney Richard Muir told the judge that the court's security personnel allowed Higley to enter the courthouse through an entrance reserved for law enforcement officers and lawyers. He then went to the building's ninth floor.
The deputies didn't contact Higley about his gun until he was leaving the courthouse. Therefore, Higley believes he had "tacit approval from some number of people to allow him into the building," the attorney said.
Outside the courtroom Monday, Muir said his client has no criminal record and graduated from the police academy five years ago. Higley has not worked as a police officer in San Diego County.
When Higley was arrested last Thursday, police searched his property and found that his car – a Ford Crown Victoria Interceptor – was outfitted with flashing red lights, sirens, a public address system and other accoutrements generally seen on law enforcement vehicles, according to the prosecutor.
A loaded .45-caliber gun and two field interview reports like those used by police when gathering information to support an arrest were found inside the car, Barrett said. "
He should've gotten hired by a PD if that's what he wanted to do. But instead, he is going to jail, lose his job, and lose his peace officers license. I think it's a good thing that he never became a PO. He's not the type of person we need representing us.