When you think of Santa Ana, don’t just think of the Santa Ana Freeway (I-5) and traffic. Instead, think of the second most populous city in Orange County. With almost 325,000 people, Santa Ana was founded in 1869 and currently is the fourth most densely populated city behind New York, San Francisco and Chicago.
The Santa Ana Civic Center located at Civic Center Blvd. and Santa Ana Blvd. is where many of the local, state, and Federal government buildings are located including City Hall, the Santa Ana Police Administration, the County Courthouse, and the IRS. The Central Justice Center, located at 700 Civic Center Drive West handles traffic cases, minor offenses, criminal cases, civil litigation and small claims cases. The Ronald Reagan and Federal Courthouse is also nearby at 411 W. Fourth Street.
The Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) is the largest municipal police agency in Orange County. The main office is at 60 Civic Center Plaza, and there are two sub-stations: one downtown at 305 E. 4th Street, #200 and the other located at 3750 W. McFadden Ave., #1. The SAPD is committed to public service and since the 1970s has implemented the Community Oriented Policing Philosophy (COP) which focuses on providing professional, disciplined policing services designed to ensure the safety and security of all members of the community.
For those residents seeking employment or job training, the Santa Ana W/O/R/K Center offers many resources including job search assistance, employee referrals and job placement. The W/O/R/K Center is located near the Civic Center Plaza at 100 E. Santa Ana Blvd. in the Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center.
Two interesting facts about Santa Ana both involve things falling from the sky. One was the “blizzard” of 1949 when residents of Santa Ana woke to a winter wonderland consisting of two inches of snow! All public schools in Santa Ana were closed for the day, as everyone, young and old, enjoyed only the second (and last) snow fall ever recorded in Santa Ana. The first snow fall occurred in 1881. The second event occurred August 3, 1965 when Rex Heflin photographed a hat-shaped disc with a ring of smoke hovering in the sky while on duty as an Orange County Highway Inspector. After almost 30 years of investigation by several agencies, the photo was declared by at least one expert, to be “a highly credible, thoroughly investigated case that meets all the criteria for significant evidence of a real, structured, craftlike UFO.”