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Retiring police could buy their service weapons

The men and women of the Costa Mesa Police Department are sticking to their guns.

At least, that’s what they want to do.


Up for approval during Tuesday night’s City Council session is a resolution that would allow, at the police chief’s discretion, honorably retiring officers the chance to buy their department-issued service weapon.

“This would allow sworn members of the department who have faithfully served a full career to be considered, with stringent approvals, the opportunity to purchase, at fair-market value, their service weapon,” said Police Chief Tom Gazsi in a prepared statement to the Daily Pilot. “A full career represents a minimum of 20 years and often well over 30 years.”


They could purchase the handgun — a semiautomatic pistol or revolver — in a manner consistent with California law that permits retiring state law enforcement officers to do so, according to the council’s agenda report prepared by city staff.

The resolution is a consent calendar item — something generally considered routine that, with all the other items on the calendar, is potentially approved by the council members with one fell swoop.

According to city staff, the officers’ handguns are “possessed and cared for by the officers throughout their years of service with the city and until retirement or separation of the employee. It is generally accepted that the service life of a weapon coincides with the duration of an officer’s years of service.”

One gun can stay with an officer for the 20 to 35 years of a career, staff wrote. New officers get a new weapon.


City staff is proposing guidelines that are identical to the department’s endorsement for retired officers to carry a weapon.

The report defines “honorably retired” as officers who have qualified for and accepted a service or disability requirement and have a minimum of 20 service years. Not included would be an officer “who has agreed to a service retirement in lieu of termination” or any officer who has retired because of a psychological disability, according to city staff.

City officials wrote that the resolution serves the public interest “by strengthening the retiree’s bond and commitment by rewarding their years of faithful service.” The officers and their old service guns will also “continue to serve as a deterrent to criminal activity in the community,” according to the report.

The police chief at the time will determine if an officer’s “retirement status is ‘honorable,’” as well as conduct a background check of the officer, ensure a certificate of sale and prepare a written approval or denial, according to proposed policy.


Otherwise, the firearms would generally be sold to brokers at a resale or recycle rate, according to the city report.


Other council matters

The council is also scheduled to discuss a proposed 22-unit, live-work project along Industrial Way near Newport Boulevard. The site is adjacent to Anchor Trailer Port, a 1.9-acre mobile home park that’s slated to be turned into a condominium complex.

The units would be on what’s now a 1.08-acre industrial site that houses a repair and storage shop for cars and boats.

The council will also appoint or reappoint members to various city committees, including the newly formed Pension Oversight Committee and Fairview Park Citizens Advisory Committee.

Twitter: @bradleyzint