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Inmates Move to Metropolitan Detention Center

By Lauren Mattia
Published: Tuesday, February 01, 2011, at 11:29AM
Metropolitan Detention Center Eric Richardson

LAPD's $70-million Metropolitan Detention Center started to open on Tuesday, 18 months after construction on the building was completed.

A year and a half has passed since the Los Angeles Police Department's $84-million Metropolitan Detention Center was ready to operate, but only this week will the facility receive its first residents.

The inmates from the outdated Parker Center jail began the half-block move starting at midnight on Tuesday.

The facility will open at the expense of policing on the streets, however, since 88 sworn police officers will be required to supplement civilian staff at the new facility.

At a City Council committee meeting on Monday, members of the union for civilian detention workers objected to the city plan, saying that their members would cost the city less while performing the same work. LAPD Assistant Police Chief Michael Moore told the committee that the move was the department's only choice due to budget cuts that have eliminated 600 civilian positions.

Other costs at the new facility will also be higher than those at the antiqued one next door. An additional $700,000 will be used to pay for custodians, medics, and other positions.

The Parker Center jail opened in 1955, and has had a series of health and safety violations in recent years. "It hasn't been acceptable for 15 years," said Councilman Bernard Parks, a former police chief. "The elevator doesn't work, the plumbing doesn't work. It's been that way for 15 years."

Hope was expressed at Monday's meeting that the officers could be moved back to the streets in six months.

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