Sun Region cities discuss merging police agencies

Councilman Michael Levitt

Sun Region officials gathered Monday afternoon, April 25 to discuss merging the Seal Beach, Los Alamitos and Cypress police departments.

According to Seal Beach Mayor Michael Levitt, the discussion was proposed by Los Alamitos City Mangager Jeffrey Stewart.

The gathering will consist of the three city managers, the three mayors and a councilman from each community.

“I don’t consider this a meeting,” Levitt said.

He said the discussion was originally going to be held in a restaurant.

However, Levitt thought a restaurant would be too noisy a location. For that matter, Levitt is not receptive to the police merger idea.

“I was surprised that the city manager of Los Alamitos thought that the citizens of Seal Beach would go for it,” Levitt said.

“We like our police force,” Levitt said.

He speculated that the proposal to merge police agencies came about because of Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach’s campaign to merge Seal Beach, Los Alamitos and Rossmoor into one super city.

Moorlach raised the subject in his Monday, April 25 Update to his constituents.

Moorlach praised unspecified city staff members for exploring the police merger proposal.  Moorlach raised the subject in his Monday, April 25 e-mail “Update” to his constituents. He praised unspecified city staff members for considering the proposal.

“Cities like Brea and Yorba Linda, have explored this option and followed through,” Moorlach wrote.

“Other cities recently came very close to merging police departments, only to hit an impasse when the discussion focused on which one of the two or three chiefs would be the new police chief and which chiefs would have to step down,” Moorlach wrote.

Many proposals

The police merger proposal is the latest in a series of proposals for improving some local governments that seem to come from other local governments or from county officials.

The police merger discussion was scheduled to take place hours before the Seal Beach City Council was expected to approve a letter telling the Orange County Supervisors that Seal Beach is opposed to merging with the communities of Rossmoor and Los Alamitos.

Several weeks ago, the press reported that Supervisor Moorlach had advised Los Alamitos to disband its police department in favor of hiring the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

However, Los Alamitos officials were not interested in that proposal.

For their part, Rossmoor area residents have accused Supervisor Moorlach of trying to contract county services—including law enforcement services—to the city of Los Alamitos. The OCSD currently provides police services to Rossmoor

Rossmoor activist Eric Christensen’s name appeared at the bottom of a Rossmoor Predator Management Team e-mail opposing any effort to replace Rossmoor’s sheriff’s deputies with Los Alamitos police officers.

Complicating matters, relationships between Los Alamitos officials and Rossmoor residents have been strained recently.

Two Los Alamitos City Council members recently described a meeting of the Rossmoor Community Services District as “the Rossmoor inquisition.”