Costa Mesa residents rally to support police, demand more officers

Costa Mesa residents rally in support of police on Tuesday night.
Costa Mesa residents rally in support of police on Tuesday night.
(Scott Smeltzer / Times Community News)
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At least 60 people rallied outside Costa Mesa City Hall on Tuesday night, holding signs that read “Crime is up. Got cops?” and “Support police, not political agendas.”

The rally, organized by the grass-roots group Costa Mesans for Responsible Government, also known as CM4RG, aimed to support police and raise awareness for what members see as a looming public safety crisis, the group’s president, Robin Leffler, told the Daily Pilot.

“What we’re really, really concerned about is safety for our neighbors and safety for ourselves,” Leffler said.


She cited Costa Mesa’s crime rate, which rose in 2012, and city council decisions to reduce police staffing.

“I think it’s been simmering for a really long time,” she said. “We’ve been very aware that our police force has been decimated.”

In June, statistics released by the FBI showed that Costa Mesa saw a 9.9% increase in violent crime in 2012 in addition to an increase in property crime.

At the time, a police official said it would be speculative to attribute the increases to reduced staffing levels at the department and instead said California’s prisoner realignment could be a factor. Realignment is intended to ease prison overcrowding by shifting responsibility for some inmates from state prisons to the county level.

CM4RG members have frequently criticized the city council majority, which has presided over cuts within the police department in an effort to reduce costs.

In February 2011, a consultant recommended reducing officer staffing from 143 full-time positions to 136. The council pushed for an even lower number. The most recent city budget includes 132 police officers. As of July this year, the department’s actual staffing stood at 120 officers, 12 below the authorized level.


A hiring freeze had prevented the department from adding officers until April, when the city announced it was looking for 10 full-time and 10 reserve officers.


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Dobruck writes for Times Community News.