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    Councilman/Public Safety Committee Chair Val Lerch Seeks City Mgr. Report on Missing LBPD Shotguns

    (January 19, 2006) -- LB City Councilman Val Lerch, who chairs the Council's Public Safety Committee, has sent a memo to City Manager Jerry Miller requesting a report within 30 days on LBPD shotguns missing from police premises.

    Councilman Lerch's January 19 memo also asks to be included in a report City Auditor Gary Burroughs is apparently preparing on the matter. .

    "As Chair of the Public Safety Committee, I am requesting a report in 30 days from the City Manager/Police Department on the missing shotguns. I understand that the City Auditor is conducting an independent report on the same subject matter that I request to be included," Councilman Lerch's memo states.

    The memo is addressed to City Manager Miller and City Auditor Burroughs, and cc'd to Mayor Beverly O'Neill, and Public Safety Committee Vice-Chair Councilwoman Bonnie Lowenthal and Committee member Patrick O'Donnell.

    On January 13, Los Angeles Times reporter Nancy Wride broke the story that as many as 85 of LBPD 272 shotguns couldn't be accounted for. Some of the weapons have since been found...but the number of missing shotguns still reportedly hovers somewhere in the range of M30-something.

    The issue drew comments at a January 18 Mayoral candidates' forum. "Our [Police] Chief, Tony Batts, is probably the best police chief in the state of California," said Mayoral candidate and Councilman Frank Colonna, and continued, "These weapons are not in the hands of the wrong people. If anything, it's a matter of refining our accounting procedures...I'm certain we will solve this problem very quickly."

    Mayoral candidate Bob Foster said, "We have a terrific police force and a terrific police chief...but this is an unacceptable situation and I'm sure the Chief and the Department and are embarrassed by this as much as any of us are. It needs to be a professional way. I'm certain he will do that. I quite frankly don't know where these weapons are but we need to find out..."

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