The city spends $257,729 a year on salaries for two officers,
vehicles and supplies. Cutting the program will save only the $21,405
for supplies, because the police officers who run it will return to
patrolling the city.
"I don't see them [the programs] as effective," Mayor Allan
Mansoor said Wednesday. "I don't see them as solving the problems. A
lot of these have been in place for so long, and there hasn't been
any substantial change."
Getting rid of the drug education program will give teachers more
time to focus on core academic subjects, council members said.
How the schools will deal with the council's move is uncertain,
because Newport Beach continues to fund the drug education program
and both cities belong to the Newport-Mesa Unified School District.
Superintendent Robert Barbot said he will talk with city officials
about how best to serve students, and he praised the police
department's overall efforts in the schools.
"They've been excellent in helping us with our needs in the school
district in the past," he said.
With the demise of Costa Mesa's program, six of Orange County's 34
cities will offer the drug program in their schools.
The Costa Mesa Police Department will consider having beat
officers spend part of their time at the city's elementary schools.
Two officers already are assigned as school resource officers at the
city's two high schools, with some duties at middle schools.
Prompted in part by criticism from a resident, the council also
will look into how the school resource officer program is working.
"Students look at the resource officers as someone that's looking
for something wrong and wants to punish them, not to help them,"
Mirna Burciaga told the council Tuesday.
Costa Mesa Police Chief John Hensley said Wednesday he supported
the decision to cut the drug education program but added that
officers will continue to be involved in local schools.
"I want the principals to all know there's a cop they can contact
if they have a question," he said.