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Captain put on leave plans to retire

Ron Smith has been with the Costa Mesa force for 32 years. The reason for his administrative leave remains undisclosed.

December 14, 2010|By Joseph Serna, joseph.serna@latimes.com

After nearly 32 years on the force and being put on leave last month along with the chief of police for an undisclosed reason, Costa Mesa police Capt. Ron Smith plans to retire.

Smith told the Daily Pilot on Tuesday that he intends to file for retirement soon, but is working out pension and other issues with the city beforehand.

In an e-mail to city personnel on Nov. 18, City Manager Allan Roeder announced that Police Chief Chris Shawkey and Smith had both been placed on leave.

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Shawkey has since declined requests for comment.

Neither Smith nor Roeder would comment about the situation, citing city personnel rules. Officials from the Orange County district attorney's office said they have not received any criminal complaints against Smith or Shawkey.

Smith, a former Officer of the Year in Costa Mesa, oversaw the investigation of a double-murder case earlier this year in which the victims were an Army veteran and an Orange Coast College student.

Smith maxed out his pension at 90% about two years ago but stayed on with the Police Department, even as the city offered incentives for veteran officers to retire because of budget restraints.

High-ranking police and city officials have said that Shawkey and Smith were frequently unavailable at department headquarters. Smith also teaches criminal justice classes at Golden West College in Huntington Beach.

Roeder would not say if absenteeism was involved in the decision to put the men on leave, or when and if they might be reactivated.

With Shawkey and Smith out, the department's top leadership has been cut by two-thirds. Capt. Les Gogerty is the acting chief, with lieutenants reporting below him. There are no other sworn captains in the department.

It was not immediately clear how Smith's retirement would affect the city's investigation.

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