Top Costa Mesa Cops Placed On Leave
ROEDER PLACES SHAWKEY AND SMITH ON LEAVE
The Daily Pilot, in an article by Joseph Serna, reported at 6:00 p.m. tonight that Costa Mesa City Manager Allan Roeder has placed Police Chief Christopher Shawkey and Captain Ron Smith on Administrative Leave - without further explanation. Captain Les Gogerty, the remaining senior officer on the force, will assume command on an interim basis. You can read that brief article HERE.
This is stunning news and, according to sources within the police department, completely unexpected. No indication has been given for the two most senior officers to be placed on leave at the same time, leaving us only to speculate on the potential reasons. It is unlikely that Roeder will address this at all because it's a personnel matter and subject to very strict rules about protection of individual rights. You will recall that this is the same line provided when Finance Director Marc Puckett departed mysteriously a couple years ago.
COMMAND STAFF DECIMATED
My initial reaction, once the epithets cleared the air, was shock, then concern for our city. This leaves us with no Fire Chief, no Police Chief (and only one senior command officer) and a City Manager who is only a couple months from retirement. And, the shriveled cherry on top of that dung sundae is the new City Council that will be sworn in by the first of the year.
ROEDER REQUESTS NO COMMENTS FROM PD
Roeder, in his message to the police force today, requested that no comments be made about this issue, so we will be left to speculate about just what kind of horrendous event would prompt the City Manager to place these men on administrative leave. Shawkey is fairly new to the department, coming to us from Phoenix. Ron Smith is an old hand in the department.
WHERE'S THE PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT?
There has been no official announcement to the public on this matter, which causes me some degree of concern. Whether Roeder can or will talk about it, the public has a right to know that the senior command staff of their police department has been placed on leave.
RANK AND FILE HAVE CONFIDENCE IN GOGERTY
Those sources within the police department that would speak about this issue also seemed concerned about the command vacuum being left, but simultaneously expressed confidence in Captain Gogerty's ability to handle the responsibilities placed on his shoulders tonight. That's good news from where I sit.
MORE TO FOLLOW...
I'll follow-up to see if there is any more information available and will, of course, be in touch with Roeder tomorrow.