Breaking News! - Chief Tom Gazsi Weighs Anchor...
DURING HIS TOUR
Chief Gazsi, a Costa Mesa resident who has spent more than three dozen years in law enforcement in
both Newport Beach and Costa Mesa, expressed strong mixed feelings about leaving the men and women of the CMPD. During his three-year tenure as the Chief of the Costa Mesa Police Department Gazsi continued the tradition established by other outstanding Costa Mesa chiefs like Roger Neth and Dave Snowden, shown here, and has led the department to significant accomplishments while dealing with political and economic circumstances that hobbled their efforts. Due to retirements - both scheduled and unanticipated - plus departures for other jurisdictions, Gazsi managed a complete replacement of the command staff. During the past two years the CMPD has hired more officers than at any similar time in its 60 year history. He was forced to oversee the dismantling of the A.B.L.E. helicopter program - the model for all municipal airborne law enforcement programs in the country. On his watch the CMPD saw many of its officers recognized for significant DUI arrests, although that performance has recently diminished due to staffing constraints. The list goes on and on.
AFFECTION FOR THE CMPD
He expressed to me great affection for the men and women of the Costa Mesa Police Department and his admiration for their professionalism, skill, dedication and tenacity. The opportunity to lead those men and women, particularly in such stressful and tumultuous times, has been the high point of his law enforcement career.
TOO GREAT AN OPPORTUNITY TO PASS UP
According to Gazsi, he wasn't looking for a job, but was sought out and selected for this position from a field of 60 candidates from around the country. When he was contacted about the chance to create a new position with such regional and national security ramifications it was too great a professional opportunity to pass up. He cited the opportunity to work with highly-respected law enforcement leaders in a dynamic environment in a century-old, revered law enforcement organization as part of the reason he considered this position. In this new position he will be responsible for more than 220 men and women, including 125 sworn officers, 15 patrol boats, plus dive operations to fulfill the department's mission to maintain the free flow of commerce and produce a safe, secure environment that promotes uninterrupted Port operations.
NEW LEADERSHIP STILL UNDECIDED
Here's my take on this situation. I, personally, don't think Tom Gazsi would have considered making any change, including this one, if the environment at City Hall was better. Jim Righeimer, with his dictatorial style, has created such a toxic work environment, particularly for the men and women of the Costa Mesa Police Department, that it is extremely difficult to recruit for any of the more than fifty openings, including the twenty-five open positions in the CMPD. You can lay the departure of more than four dozen officers - including Gazsi - representing hundreds of years of experience, directly at Righeimer's feet. Gazsi's departure is a giant exclamation point on this entire situation and it's importance and impact simply cannot be overstated. I've written about it in the recent past, HERE, and Katrina Foley addressed it, too, HERE.
STAVELEY WAS CORRECT!
HERE. Perhaps the most telling segment is this one:
"Over the years, I have had city councils I thought were smart and thoughtful and ones who were less skilled. In every case, I know they were trying to do the right thing - I did not always agree, but clearly they were trying hard to improve the communities we all served. I have never, however, seen a council such as this one. They lack skill, training, education, knowledge, they fail to study (or at least learn). The majority either lies or are so lacking in the necessary skills that they actually believe the junk they say. They act as if they are owners of the business that is the municipal government of the City of Costa Mesa, but they are not, they are merely trustees of these public assets both human and physical and they fail in that role completely. They are, in my opinion, incompetent, unskilled and unethical."
TO THE CMPD - THANK YOU...
...AND TO CHIEF GAZSI, TOO
We thank Chief Gazsi for his devotion to this city, for his steady hand on the helm of the CMPD at a time when it certainly was needed and wish him all the best in this new assignment. He will be missed.