LBPD says it expects no change in response times in calls for service
(April 11, 2002) -- LBPD's North Division Station at Atlantic Ave. and Del Amo Blvd. has been temporarily closed pending tests (due in about two weeks) after several employees reported signs of upper respiratory illness and mold growth was discovered in modular buildings that house the bathrooms and locker rooms.
In a written release, LBPD called the move precautionary due to employee heath concerns. Roughly 100 North Division employees are being temporarily relocated to the West Division station at 1835 Santa Fe Ave.
In pertinent part, LBPD's release says, "The City's Safety Officer was contacted and, upon inspection of the facility, detected mold growth in the modular buildings that house the bathrooms and locker rooms. An air quality sampling took place on April 9, 2002, and the results will be forthcoming in approximately two weeks. At this time it cannot be determined if there are harmful spores, bacteria or fungi in the facility without the analytical results from the laboratory."
LBPD added it "anticipates that there will be no change in service or response time for North Division calls." It said all North Division phone numbers will remain the same, although walk-in business will be re-directed to West Division.
Reached for comment, Steve James, president of the LB Police Officers Association, told LBReport.com, "I hope that if there is a problem, we get it fixed. We've had a lot of officers ill in that station."
Gigi Fast Elk Bannister, president of Stop Taking Our Parks [S.T.O.P. is battling City Hall's plan to build a new expanded facility that would consume part of Scherer Park] told LBReport.com:
"We told [former NLB] Commander Jeffrey Johnson of our concerns for the safety and health of our police officers over a year ago based on items that we saw in the Environmental Impact Report. That's why we made the suggestion of temporary alternative sites, such as the property at Bixby Rd./LB Blvd and the former Roberts department store property."
Noting that LBPD's release says temporarily relocating staff to West Long Beach would not affect response times, S.T.O.P.'s vice president Reggie Bannister said, "City Hall previously insisted it had to take Scherer Park land to provide effective response times. Now they say they can do as well from West Long Beach. Something doesn't sound credible."
Ms. Bannister added, "We've always been concerned about the condition our officers work under. We wanted them to have a safe, effective working environment, but taking the park land was unnecessary."
A Superior Court ruling has upheld City Hall's plan to build the expanded North Division facility as planned. The case is now on appeal.