COSTA MESA (CBS) — A Costa Mesa police officer is accused of fooling around — literally — while he was supposed to be on duty.
Some residents told officials they saw the cop spending hours romancing his girlfriend when he should have been on patrol. Night after night.
Stacey Butler, reporting for CBS2 and KCAL9, says officer Allen Rieckhof insists he did nothing wrong. In his words, all he did was combine his lunch hour with breaks, so he could spend more time with a woman, while on duty.
Neighbors who watched the affair unfold, are outraged.
“There was kissing and hugging and that kind of stuff,” says Wes Cleaver. “I don’t care who he dates, I don’t care who she dates. But it’s not supposed to be done on our time, taxpayer’s time. That was what was upsetting to me.”
Rieckhof admitted to authorities that he was spending time with the woman. According to a statement from the city of Costa Mesa he said, “he and [the woman] did what people normally do in getting to know one another (i.e. kidding, hugging and playing grabbing body parts.”
He also admitted that he got fellow officers to meet with the woman to give gifts he purchased for her, including a $100 gift certificate to Victoria’s Secret.
Jim Righeimer, Costa Mesa’s Mayor pro-tem, is angry. “There is no penalty…and he gets off.”
Police initially declined to discipline Rieckhof. After neighbors corroborated the affair, an administrative review put Rieckof on an unpaid 10-day suspension.
He filed an appeal, on the grounds he wasn’t given sufficient notice or due process and he won. Righeimer is appalled. “A regular person would be fired for this,” he says.
Costa Mesa officials haven’t yet decided if they plan to appeal the appeal.