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Police chief says Costa Mesa cuts could hurt crime fighting

June 18, 2011 |  1:37 pm

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Restructuring the Costa Mesa Police Department to reduce costs could put the city at risk for more crime and mean fewer officers dedicated to traffic enforcement, narcotics operations and other specialties, the police chief warned.

But some Costa Mesa officials -- given the task of finding ways to shore up the budget -- said there may be little choice but to follow at least some of a consultant's recommendations to restructure the force. Such reorganization, the city consultant claims, would save $1.3 million the first year and $1.8 million annually afterward.

The changes, suggested by Management Partners Inc., include eliminating three officers, removing a lieutenant position -- bringing the number of lieutenants from eight to five -- and keeping a  captain position vacant until Sept. 30 to save on wages, according to the Daily Pilot.

The Costa Mesa City Council plans to discuss the changes at Tuesday's meeting as it considers approving the city's fiscal year 2011-12 budget.

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-- Lauren Williams, Times Community News

Photo: Police tape marks a crime scene in Costa Mesa. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

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