TARDY RECOGNITION OF A SAD ANNIVERSARY
With all the turmoil since the first of the month dealing with Jim Righeimer's Charter and the RDA fiasco over the past couple days plus being away over the Independence Day holiday I neglected to mark the anniversary of a sad day in the history of Costa Mesa - the day our current City Council decided - for purely political payback purposes - to close down the AirBorne Law Enforcement program (A.B.L.E.), a program that had been the model for municipal law enforcement programs around the world.
FOUR DECADES OF SERVICE
On June 30, 2011 - the end of the fiscal year last year - the A.B.L.E. program was officially decommissioned. In the more than 40 years of service, the officer/pilots who served us all gained international recognition for their forward-thinking application of the "eyes in the sky" to public safety. We all owe them a considerable debt of gratitude for their service to this community and those surrounding cities they also patrolled.
CHRONICLING A DEATH
Last year I wrote two entries about the demise of A.B.L.E. You can read them at the links that follow.
RISING CRIME RATE EMPHASIZES THE LOSS
As the crime rate continues to escalate each day we come to realize more than ever what a significant void the loss of the A.B.L.E. program has created in the public safety operations in our city. This council will NEVER create another such program, but constantly yelp about what a great cost-savings the contract with the Huntington Beach Police Department for the sporadic use of their helicopter patrol has been. I guess we'll just have to ask those Costa Mesans who increasingly are the victims of crimes that may have been deterred by the presence of the A.B.L.E. team in the air space above our city. We'll never know how many of those home and automobile burglars in the north part of our town might have been caught by A.B.L.E. before they made their escapes to the freeways.
I DON'T FEEL SAFER - DO YOU?
All I know is that I don't feel safer today than I did two years ago. The capricious slashing of CMPD staff, combined with the loss of A.B.L.E. has made our city an easier target for criminals of all types. Shame on this council for putting their personal political agendas ahead of Costa Mesa's public safety.
THANKS, AND GOOD LUCK TO YOU ALL
So, once again, thanks to the visionary leaders who supported the program and the brave officers and staff of the A.B.L.E. program for their decades of service. Some have returned to ground-bound patrol duties and others have simply moved on. The helicopters are sold, the hangar is empty and we are left only with the memories of the service given to our community. We here at A Bubbling Cauldron wish you all well.