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South Bay Digest

Redondo Beach : Traffic Officers to Be Added

December 05, 1985

Despite objections from the police chief and city manager, the City Council voted Tuesday night to pursue a state grant that will allow the Police Department to add two officers and a sergeant to its traffic bureau.

If the request to the state Office of Traffic Safety is approved, the traffic bureau will grow to 11 motorcycle officers--nearly triple its size in June, 1984, when the bureau had just four officers.

The city applied in March for a state grant for six new traffic employees--five motorcycle officers and one motorcycle sergeant. The request was reduced to two officers and a sergeant, however, after the City Council voted during budget talks last summer to hire three new traffic officers on its own.

The grant, which is expected to be awarded this week, will cover salaries for the two officers and sergeant during the first year, half of the salaries during the second year, and nothing after that. City Manager Tim Casey said the city will be required to keep the three positions after the second year at its own expense--about $208,000 annually, he said.

Because of the costs to the city of continuing the program after the grant expires, Casey and Police Chief Roger M. Moulton asked the City Council to withdraw the grant application. Casey and Moulton said the city's share could be better used for other police activities--such as patrolling the Galleria at South Bay--as well as non-police projects.

But several council members and Mayor Barbara Doerr said residents throughout the city complain about increasing traffic and the dangers it brings to their neighborhoods. They noted that there were 11 traffic fatalities in the city last year.

"If we don't have people out there, we can't stop" the speeders, Councilman Archie Snow said. "We cannot afford to refuse this grant."

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