Alpine County Sheriff's Sergeant badge personalized to
Don Light served in the United States Air Force from February 28, 1955 to February 28, 1963 as a hydraulic specialist on fighter planes. Don had the fortunate opportunity to ride alongside a pilot in an F-100F Super Sabre after passing the speed of sound test. Also, while serving in the Air Force, Don had the opportunity to work weekends as a volunteer for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office in their search and rescue Underwater Rescue Unit as a scuba diver recovering drowned victims or vehicles dumped in the aqueducts and lakes.
After his enlistment with the USAF concluded in 1963, Don served several years as a volunteer for the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office in Modesto, CA all while operating his own vehicle repair garage. In 1965, he joined the Stanislaus Rescue Unit as an underwater recovery diver. It was from this volunteer work that he decided to pursue a career in law enforcement. In the spring of 1969 he completed his peace officers’ training and was hired on permanently with the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office in underwater recovery.
In August 1971, Don decided to leave the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office to pursue his career at the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office. His fellow officers gave him a farewell party.
After starting with the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office in 1971, Don was recognized by the Calaveras County District Attorney’s Office in September 1973 for a landmark case involving his expert testimony that was published in the case People v. Walls, 34 Cal. App. 3d 94, 109 Cal. Rptr. 708. This case involved searches, seizures and bugging and based on Don’s experience, training, and expertise on narcotics and dangerous drugs he was able to modify existing case law and gave all law enforcement personnel in this State the opportunity to conduct searches heretofore prohibited. Further, Don’s work was cited in the California Looseleaf Search and Seizure Handbook, published by Carl A. Capozzola and was used extensively by prosecutors as perhaps one of the most extensive search and seizure manuals available.
Don Light posing with his Dodge 4X4 at Bear Valley Alpine Co. Don is credited with implementing a mountain search and rescue unit and the Bear Valley Search and Rescue Team.