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Daily Pilot

Costa Mesa to hire more police officers

Department has gone four years without hiring. Police chief hopes to fill 20 positions in 2013.

By Jeremiah Dobruck and Lauren Williams

6:30 PM PST, December 18, 2012

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Costa Mesa Police Chief Tom Gazsi announced Tuesday that the department has hired a new officer for the first time in four years and plans to hire three more by next month.

It's the first time since 2008 that the budget-strapped Costa Mesa Police Department has added to its ranks.

The move could portend more hiring. About 20 officers are expected to leave in the next year and a half, Gazsi said, and he hopes to replace them.

"We're down about 10 officers presently," he said during a meeting at the Newport-Mesa Unified School District headquarters. "We anticipate as many as 20 [leaving through attrition] over the next year, year and a half. This is to replace the current vacancies, and we're going to be in a continuous hiring phase to replace those we anticipate 'attriting' away."

The new officer came from the Orange County Sheriff's Department, Gazsi said during the meeting.

The new hires are entering the department as officers, not trainees.

As the officer positions are filled, Gazsi said he anticipates building back specialty units such as school resource and gang officers, detectives and special investigations.

Twitter: @jeremiahdobruck and @lawilliams30