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Costa Mesa kills police helicopter program, 4 officers to lose jobs

February 18, 2011 |  7:35 am

The Costa Mesa City Council voted this week to dissolve its police helicopter program, saving the city almost $1 million in annual costs but costing four officers their jobs.

Councilwoman Wendy Leece dissented, saying the city should find other money-saving options.

The AirBorne Law Enforcement, or ABLE, program, a shared helicopter program with Newport Beach police that also extended service to Irvine and Santa Ana on occasion, ended after 15 years Tuesday night.

Costa Mesa has had police helicopters since the 1970s and in 1996 merged with Newport Beach's program to form ABLE. With the program gone, the four Costa Mesa officers involved will be folded back into regular department operations, displacing four less senior officers who will be laid off, city officials said.

Read the full story here.


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-- Joseph Serna, Daily Pilot / Times Community News

Photo: Police officer / pilot John Susman (left) and Officer Vern Hupp, Airborne Law Enforcement, providing air support for the cities of Costa Mesa, Newport and Santa Ana in 2004. Credit: Los Angeles Times