Our Approach


The San Diego Law Enforcement Emerald Society (SDLEES) is a non-profit, multiagency organization with the goal of fostering goodwill among the numerous law enforcement agencies within the communities of San Diego. Additionally our goal is to instill, preserve and celebrate the heritage, accomplishments and the dedication of the Irish American Law Enforcement Officers, past and present, and their Gaelic culture.

Each year the Society hosts several events which provide an opportunity for law enforcement professionals to meet and develop relationships to improve communication and cooperation between the numerous local, state and federal agencies throughout the county. This improved communication between agencies results in safer communities and an improved quality of life for all residents and visitors to San Diego County.

Our Story


The first Emerald Society was started by members of the New York Police Department formed the in March 1953.

The popularity of the Emerald Society grew in and around New York City in the 1950’s and by 1958, 8 societies had been established. The 1990’s saw a dramatic increase in the number of organizations with 39 new Societies formed.

The west coast was not represented by an Emerald Society until members of the Los Angeles Police Department organized in 1992 to form the Los Angeles Police Emerald Society (LAPES), followed by the San Francisco Bay Area Law Enforcement Emerald Society (SFBALES) in 1998.

The San Diego Law Enforcement Emerald Society (SDLEES) was started in 1999 by officers from the California Highway Patrol, San Diego Sheriff's Department and San Diego Police Department. The first members to serve on the Executive Board were:

  • President: Derek Clark (San Diego Sheriffs Department)
  • Vice President: Frank Lamb (California Highway Patrol)
  • Treasurer: Bill Nemec (San Diego Police Department)
  • Secretary: Buddy Johnson (San Diego Police Department)
  • Sergeant at Arms: Dave Brannan (San Diego Sheriffs Department)

In 2006, the Inland Empire Emerald Society was formed was started representing law enforcement agencies in the area of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.

The San Diego Law Enforcement Emerald Society is proud to have members representing the following agencies:

  • California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control
  • California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
  • California Highway Patrol
  • Chula Vista Police Department
  • El Cajon Police Department
  • National City Police Department
  • San Diego Police Department
  • San Diego Sheriff's Department
  • United States Border Patrol
  • United States Customs and Immigration
  • United States Department of Homeland Security

Due to the the growth of independent Emerald Societies across the country, the National Conference of Law Enforcement Emerald Societies (NCLEES) founded in 1992 to improve communication between the Emerald Societies and provide a unified voice throughout the country.

The San Diego Law Enforcement Emerald Society is an independent entity and is governed by the by-laws established and maintained by our membership.