Thursday, July 12, 2012

Remembering A.B.L.E.

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.

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.

Last year I wrote two entries about the demise of A.B.L.E.  You can read them at the links that follow.

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.

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.

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.

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Anonymous Phil said...

Hated that helicopter. Lots of us were happy to see it go. While I don't like ghetto birds at all, the one we have now seems much better.

7/12/2012 07:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Resident said...

Thanks for that, Phil. Your expert opinion means so much. Do you call for the helicopter much while you are on patrol? Give us some cool, hair raising stories. I'd love to hear about it.

7/12/2012 08:41:00 PM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

I am sitting here listening to fireworks being blown off at Fairview Park. I wish we still had that copter. It did a fine job and served us well.

The climbing crime rate in this city is evidence of the job it did.

7/12/2012 08:43:00 PM  
Anonymous OCGOP Strategy said...

Did Riggy secretly buy one of the ABLE helicopters to help Carlos Bustamante break out of prison?

Or maybe Mensy bought one so he could shoot at homeless people from the air..

7/13/2012 06:13:00 AM  
Anonymous SQUAD51 said...

ABLE was taken down as a act of retribution by one man... Jim Righeimer.
The cops knew what this man stands for and why he was comming here and stood against him.
He got in the door with the support of the OCGOP and the first thing on his agenda was to put it to the cops.
ABLE was the most effective tool the PD had and taking it down was the best way to hurt them for his own personal satisfaction.
The Huntington Beach helicopter never has been the nationally recognised operation ABLE was and the service they provide now is weak by comparison. Costa Mesa is now throwing away money for what amounts to just being able to say they have one.
It's easy to understand what Righeimer did because it's clear what he is.
What is amazing is that Newport Beach allowed it to happen when they had other options.
They spent more money on landscaping their new $130M city hall than it would have cost to save this asset and they chose to try and look conservative after that.
Public safety is not social welfare and even the most right wing tea partiers will find that out as these resources are lost.

7/13/2012 06:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Not Rocket Science said...

ABLE down, crime up.

7/13/2012 08:10:00 AM  
Anonymous big whoop said...

ABLE or not - we have always had fireworks going off in Fairview Park after the 4th.

7/13/2012 01:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Manny Mimon said...

Violent crime in Santa Ana has decreased. Is that because the Sheriff's took them over or because Costa Mesa helicopter crews werent as awesome as you think. Costa Mesa crime is up because our city caters to transients. Period!!! Not because of a helicopter

7/13/2012 10:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Pill Bug said...


Check your facts.
1)The City of Santa Ana was not taken over by OCSD. SAPD is still the watch dog in their city.
2)SAPD has contracted with OCSD to provided air support services and has personnel assigned to OCSD (a former Costa Mesa crew member) to oversee air operations within their city.

Imagine that, personnel with intimate knowledge of their city assisting OCSD catching criminals in Santa Ana.

Perhaps crime is down in Santa Ana because they've found ways to save money without cutting police services, including air support.

7/13/2012 11:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Manny Mimon said...

Pill Bug- I called Santa Ana Police and talked to the desk Sergent to confirm your info. You are correct re personnel issues. The sheriff's helicopter isn't very well liked by the person i talked too. The quote i got was "theyre always down and rarely available". Maybe they too should contract with Huntington Beach. That helicopter is always around.

7/16/2012 05:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Manny Mimon said...

Pill bug- perhaps crime is up in Costa Mesa because of transients. What do you think?

7/16/2012 08:25:00 PM  
Blogger patches said...

Of course the crime is down in Santa Ana. If you look at the newspaper you will see that alot of the crimes in Costa Mesa are being committed by those from Santa Ana.I guess they read the newspaper too and know that we have lost ABLE and alot of our ground protection.What an open door to crime, thanks Riggy! Yes, he is making a name for himself but it's not a nice name,

7/20/2012 10:48:00 PM  

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