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City Employees Call For Civilian Furlough Exemption for Detention Center Employees

By David Markland
Published: Thursday, October 28, 2010, at 12:57PM
DSC00871 David Markland [Flickr]

LAPD Principal Detention Officer Dave Yuen calls on City Hall's civilian hiring freeze to be exempt for detention center employees.

Two dozen civilian LAPD workers gathered for a press conference in front of the Metropolitan Detention Center earlier today to call attention to the LAPD's plan to staff the new jail with sworn officers instead of civilian employees.

LAPD Principal Detention Officer Dave Yuen said that a current hiring freeze and furloughs has forced the police department "to employ their last option to take police officers out of communities" to staff the Los Angeles Street jail, which is scheduled to open next February.

The $70 million dollar building was completed in May 2009 to replace the 60-year-old jail facility in the otherwise abandoned Parker Center, but has delayed its opening due to the city's budget crisis and hiring freeze.

Today's event was assembled by the Coalition of L.A. City Unions. A handout they distributed said that sworn police officers would cost $7.6 millions dollars more annually than a projected cost of $15.3 million for civilian officers at the Detention Center.

Arturro Camarillo, a concerned citizen, this is not where he intended the officers to be sent when he voted on a 2006 garbage tax to increase police hiring.

Yuen called on City Council to exempt detention center employees from furloughs and the current hiring freeze to adequately staff the jail. "In the jails we have doctors and nurses who have been exempted to furloughs," he said, "but not civilian detention officers."

In an official statement released today by the LAPD, the department wrote, "all efforts to gain a detention- officer exemption for hiring freezes and mandatory furloughs have failed to win necessary support."

The release goes on to cite health and safety issues at Parker Center, including overflowing sewage, necessitating the move to the larger facility, and increased labor needs at the new facility requiring LAPD Chief Beck to make an executive decision on staffing.

Chief Beck said “it is unacceptable to me to have LAPD personnel working in a facility that at best has been described as dilapidated and dangerous, while a modern facility next door remains in mothballs.”

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