While it works toward hiring two school resource officers, the Costa Mesa Police Department this week started a special patrol focused solely on interacting with Costa Mesa campuses.

The city had been without a dedicated school presence after its long-time school resource officer, Jess Gilman, retired in October.

Since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut last month, Costa Mesa police have rehired Gilman as a part-time reserve officer and announced they intend to hire two additional full-time SROs by the end of this year.

In the meantime, patrol officers will fill in some of the gaps by spending more time at schools, Capt. Les Gogerty told the Newport-Mesa Unified School District school board Tuesday.

"We have a special patrol right now that started [Monday] that will continue for the next three to four weeks where our officers — they're assigned to this only — are visiting all the campuses in the community," he said.

Officers on the beat will interact with students and staff there by walking each campuses, according to the captain.

Other officers were also instructed to spend more time in and around schools between calls, Gogerty said.

— Jeremiah Dobruck

Twitter: @jeremiahdobruck