Los Angeles: Effective Sunday, May 23, 2010, the property rooms at Newton, Wilshire, West Valley, and North Hollywood Community Police Stations will be temporarily closed, making it necessary for officers and community members to access property from other nearby police facilities.
In addition to the closure of select property rooms, some off-hour and weekend coverage in other property-related functions will be temporarily eliminated. The specific shifts to be eliminated at Property Division are Valley Property Section PM Watch and Weekends, Evidence Control Section AM Watch, and Forensic Science Center PM Watch.
Chief Beck said, “These closures and service reductions are a part of our shared sacrifice in very difficult staffing conditions.” He added, “Consolidating functions and limiting service is a balancing act that takes into account not only public safety, officer safety and legal mandates, but also goals for efficiency and effectiveness. Staffing 24 separate property locations, many with extended hours of service, with only 58 property officers was unsustainable. ”
The Los Angeles Police Department’s Property Division, along with most of the LAPD civilian workforce has been subject to a mandatory hiring freeze since early 2008. As a result of normal attrition and the early retirement incentive program (ERIP), Property Division is currently working with a vacancy rate of over 18 percent. This does not take into account the fact that property officers are civilians subject to furlough.
Property Division’s Commanding Officer Mrs. Terry Carter said, “The decision on which property rooms and shifts to close was based on an examination of workflow histories and proximity to other property rooms.” Mrs. Carter added, “An effective, efficient and well supervised property function is crucial to several Department mandates, including the successful prosecution of criminals and the expeditious return of property to rightful owners.”
While not permanent, beginning on May 23, 2010, officers assigned to the impacted geographic Areas will be required to book and access property at the nearby property rooms or at Central Property Section. In certain situations, secure interim storage lockers and refrigerators may be used. The most significant impact to field operations will be that officers may have to drive to an adjacent Area to access property. No police officers will be deployed in property officer assignments.
Protocols for booking, retrieving, and releasing evidence will be developed, including a way for officers to make an appointment to help eliminate unnecessary delays. Effective planning on the part of the officers and detectives will minimize the impact to field operations.
Service to the community will be minimally impacted. Currently, property owners are required to make an appointment after they are notified that their property is available for release from LAPD custody. Those who would normally receive their property at Newton or Wilshire Area will be directed to Central Property Section and those who would normally receive their property at North Hollywood or West Valley Areas will be directed to Valley Property Section. Each notification will now include the phone number to the appropriate property room.
As with the decisions related to property rooms, all staffing and service decision will be made by the Chief of Police after considering the public safety, officer safety and legal mandates, and goals for efficiency and effectiveness.
Inquiries about this News Release should be directed to Media Relations Section at 213-486-5910.