Letter to the Community: Police Chief Jeff Calvert and City Manager Shohreh Dupuis

Police Chief Jeff Calvert. Photo/City of Laguna Beach

Dear Laguna Beach Community,

Now that the election is over, we’d like to take the opportunity to provide you with the truth and facts regarding our police department recruitment efforts which have been challenging cities across the nation and to highlight our success in implementing new programs and opportunities for police officers.

First, the City Manager and I continue our efforts to provide sustainable enhanced public safety, low crime rates, and high quality of life for residents, businesses, and visitors in Laguna Beach.

These are exciting times within your police department, and we will continue to provide exceptional police service while embracing our values of Passion, Respect, Integrity, Diversity, and Excellence (P.R.I.D.E.).

The police department is currently staffed with 49 of our 56 budgeted sworn positions. City Council recently approved the fifty-sixth position for adding a third police lieutenant, allowing the current lieutenants to focus on patrol operations. Over the past several months, we have engaged in a strong and proactive recruitment effort yielding positive results. We had one police recruit graduate from the police academy last week, and he began field training this week. There are currently nine experienced lateral police officer candidates progressing through background, and we anticipate four of them starting in December.

Additionally, five entry-level police recruit candidates were interviewed and entered the background process. We anticipate them starting the police academy in March 2023. Moreover, we have 21 recruit candidates who passed the physical agility test and written examination and will be interviewed in the next few weeks.

We also have been fortunate to add several new positions to our roster recently. We filled the existing K9 vacancy and have added a second enforcement K9 position to provide seven-day-a-week coverage. Additionally, we added a Facility K9 position to promote employee wellness, community engagement, and to help comfort victims, witnesses and community members exposed to trauma. We have added a third Motor Officer position to help focus on traffic-related issues impacting our City. We also signed a Joint Agreement with the Newport Beach Police Department to assign a corporal and sergeant to ancillary SWAT duties.

This immediately paid dividends when we recently had a full SWAT callout on 10th Avenue about a barricaded attempted murder suspect. We also added a part-time cold case detective to the detective bureau, who brings a breadth of experience to help solve major unsolved crimes.

To address quality of life issues in neighborhoods and parks most impacted by visitors, we have added three full-time park rangers, with the plan to expand the program to five full-time and five part-time park rangers by next summer.

Finally, interviews are being conducted right now for several applicants for the existing captain vacancy. The goal is to have the new captain in place before the end of the year. Unfortunately, we have two sergeants and one corporal out with long term injuries.

Please feel free to reach out to either of us directly if you want to learn more about how we are working to keep Laguna Beach a safe place to live, work and visit.

In Community Spirit,

Laguna Beach residents Police Chief Jeff Calvert and City Manager Shohreh Dupuis

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