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City wants to maintain campus police presence

Main focus is '100% coverage' at the Costa Mesa high and middle school campuses, Councilman Steve Mensinger says Monday.

June 20, 2011|By Britney Barnes, britney.barnes@latimes.com

The school trustees were concerned last week that the city would reduce its sworn officers to unsworn reserves — a money-saving option listed in the council's June 14 study session agenda. Unsworn officers cannot make arrests and many cannot carry firearms.

The trustees vehemently denounced the option, stating unsworn officers wouldn't be able to fulfill the duties of the SRO without a gun or a patrol car. They directed Reed not to enter into an agreement unless the officers were sworn.

Mensinger maintained Monday that it was always his position to increase the officers' presence with sworn reserves.

Whether the council will move forward expanding the SRO program, or revert to the staff recommendation, is still up in the air until the council votes Tuesday, said school board Trustee Katrina Foley.

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Foley, a former city councilwoman, said she doesn't think the council will be able to keep the sworn officers on campus if they move forward with major cuts to the Police Department.

"The fact of the matter is, if you make significant cuts to the police officers, there is no way to keep the SROs," Foley said.

The city will vote on an agreement with the school district at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Council Chambers in City Hall, 77 Fair Drive.

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