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City manager places Costa Mesa police chief on leave

City manager places Costa Mesa police chief on leave
Christopher Shawkey

COSTA MESA — Police Chief Chris Shawkey and Capt. Ron Smith have been placed on administrative leave, City Manager Allan Roeder announced in an e-mail to police personnel Thursday.

The e-mail did not explain why the high-ranking police officials were put on leave, and Roeder could not be reached for comment.

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Capt. Les Gogerty, who has been with the department since 1985, will serve as interim commander.

Other police officials, who provided a copy of the announcement to the Daily Pilot in the early evening, confirmed that it was authentic, but said city policies prohibited them from discussing the matter. They declined to speculate why the two men were placed on leave or whether their leaves were related.

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"Police Department personnel, please be advised, as of this date Chief Shawkey and Captain Smith are on leave," Roeder's announcement stated. "As this involves potential personnel matters, I would respectfully ask that you not speculate nor discuss this matter out of respect for these two individuals and the professional integrity of the Costa Mesa Police Department."

City officials said they also received a copy of the announcement.

Neither Shawkey or Smith were available for comment early Thursday night.

Shawkey joined the department in 2007 and was recruited from the Phoenix Police Department, where he had been since 1981 and served as the department's airport bureau commander.

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Smith has been with the department for about 30 years, and oversaw the investigation of a violent double-murder earlier this year.

High-ranking city and police officials said that Shawkey had either been absent or away from the office a good deal time of this year. They did not know if that was related to Roeder's decision to place the chief on leave.

The same officials had no information on Smith.

Aside from Smith, Gogerty is the department's only other captain. Both captains serve directly under Shawkey, along with a civilian commander.

Costa Mesa has seen changes in its public safety leadership this year. Fire Chief Mike Morgan retired in October and is currently serving as interim fire chief in Newport Beach.

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