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Costa Mesa police selects new interim chief

Veteran law enforcement official Steven H. Stavely also served as the city's temporary chief from July 2006 to January 2007.

March 15, 2011|By Sarah Peters, sarah.peters@latimes.com

COSTA MESA — Steven H. Staveley will take over as the interim police chief on Wednesday, Costa Mesa officials announced in a news release.

Staveley, an instructor at Golden West College in Huntington Beach, previously served as Costa Mesa's interim chief from July 2006 to January 2007, when then-Chief John Hensley retired.

Staveley will replace outgoing interim chief Les Gogerty. Gogerty chose to step down last week to focus on his duties as captain of field operations, Tom Hatch, Costa Mesa's chief executive, said earlier this week.

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Staveley's résumé includes 20 years with the Buena Park Police Department and tenures as police chief in the cities of Belmont and La Habra. He has also served with the California Department of Justice as director of the Division of Law Enforcement, according to the release.

"Chief Staveley is a familiar and talented fit as we immediately proceed in the recruitment effort to select a permanent chief," Hatch said in a prepared statement issued Tuesday.

The position oversees multiple department special units and more than 100 employees.

"He was interested in focusing his efforts and ensuring that the employees received the time and attention they needed as we move forward in the next few months," Hatch said.

Staveley will begin by assessing the department's status. Staveley said on Tuesday his past history with the city and knowledge of key city officials and their thought processes should help him.

"The permanent chief will want to hit the ground running as fast as possible, but it takes time to understand an organization like Costa Mesa," he said.

He continued: "An assessment will help the new chief with an understanding of how the organization functions in a historical sense, where it is now and will help up to speed the process of him or her integrating into the department and keep everyone moving forward."

Staveley plans to spend time with all departments within the department while conducting his assessment, he said.

"I fully expect to find that they will be providing the same exceptional service the way they did the last time I was there," Staveley said.

The search for a permanent chief will also continue, Hatch said.

An open recruitment will begin by the end of the week. The position is open to applicants from inside the department as well as outside the department, Hatch said.

The process is expected to take three to five months, in which Staveley will serve as interim chief, according to a press release.

"It is a vital position, a leadership role that is very critical for us," Hatch said.

The position is considered part-time and Staveley will not receive any health or retirement benefits. The pay is $99.38 an hour and Staveley is expected to work 30 to 40 hours a week, Hatch said.

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