When Bob Phillips was a young Boy Scout on a field trip to the old Costa Mesa police station on Ford Road, he had an epiphany.
Officers asked for a volunteer to go into the single jail cell in the station, and Phillips raised his hand. When the door slammed shut in front of him and he peered out at his friends, he thought to himself, “I’d rather be on the other side looking in than on this side looking out,” he said.
From that day on, he wanted to be a police officer.
Now Phillips, raised in Costa Mesa since he was 2, is saying farewell to the department after 30 years on the force. He’s one of a few veteran officers taking the “golden handshake” the city is offering for longtime police to save money on the budget and retiring as a sergeant today. He said with a laugh that his wife has a laundry list of things at home he’ll be getting to work on as soon as he’s done.