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OFFICIALS PITCH TAX FOR COPS AT SITE OF NORTH VALLEY STATION LAPD TO HIRE MORE OFFICERS IF VOTERS PASS MEASURE A.

Byline: Lisa Mascaro Staff Writer

MISSION HILLS - Police Chief William J. Bratton and other city leaders toured the nearly complete North Valley police station on Thursday and said that staffing of the long-delayed facility could be bolstered if voters approve a half-percent sales tax on the Nov. 2 ballot.

Plans call for 300 officers and 100 civilians to be redeployed from throughout the city when the 54,000-square-foot station opens early next year. Officials are hoping, however, to add to the ranks of the Los Angeles Police Department if voters approve Measure A, which would provide $500 million a year for police services countywide.

``That kind of additional strength is what we need,'' Mayor James Hahn said, so the city can avoid being ``in the position where we have to rob Peter to pay Paul.''

The two-story station, which cost $17 million to build, is designed to serve the 202,000 people who live in the 28-square-mile North Valley area carved out from the current Foothill and Devonshire divisions. It will be headed up by Capt. Kirk Albanese, now assigned to Foothill.

The facility on Sepulveda Boulevard between Rinaldi Street and San Fernando Mission Road is the first to be built with funds from Proposition Q, a $600 million bond issue approved by voters in 2002. The bond issue also is providing money to remodel the West Valley station and build a new Valley Traffic facility.

Bonds for the North Valley station were originally approved more than a decade ago, but the money was spent elsewhere and the unfulfilled promise has long been an issue in the Valley.

The North Valley station, which will be named by the community, is expected to open by mid-February, although final clearance could delay that until March.

Bratton said the North Valley station will help boost service in the San Fernando Valley, where response times run one minute more than in the rest of the city.

City Council President Alex Padilla said senior lead officers from Devonshire and Foothill will move to the new station to maintain continuity.

``It's going to be as smooth and seamless a transition as possible,'' he said.

This week the council approved allocating $340,000 from the city's general fund to promote 13 supervisors to the new station and backfill their positions. Earlier this year the mayor won council approval to hire 30 officers citywide in fiscal 2005-06 budget.

Measure A on the Nov. 2 ballot would increase Los Angeles County's sales tax from 8.25 percent to 8.75 percent and generate an estimated $560 million annually for the county Sheriff's Department and city police departments, including the LAPD.

Critics, however, are expected to oppose another increase in the county's sales tax. The tax would continue indefinitely but could be suspended in a decade by a two-thirds vote of the county Board of Supervisors.

Lisa Mascaro, (818) 713-3761

lisa.mascaro(at)dailynews.com

CAPTION(S):

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Photo:

Officials look Thursday at the police station rising in the North Valley. From left: Council head Alex Padilla, Mayor Jim Hahn, police Capt. Kirk Albanese and Chief William J. Bratton.

John Lazar/Staff Photographer
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Oct 8, 2004
Words:523
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