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Bill to Hire 150 CHP Officers Zips Through Assembly

September 03, 1987|JERRY GILLAM | Times Staff Writer

SACRAMENTO — Gov. George Deukmejian's plan to immediately hire 150 California Highway Patrol officers to help crack down on the epidemic of freeway shooting violence was overwhelmingly passed by the Assembly on Wednesday.

A 72-0 vote sent the urgency legislation to the Senate after brief debate.

The bill, authored by Assemblyman Paul E. Zeltner (R-Lakewood), calls for a $7.3-million appropriation from existing motor vehicle registration and driver's license fees to hire the new CHP officers and 30 support personnel.

It also would appropriate another $2 million for overtime for existing CHP officers on freeway violence control duty.

Zeltner said there have been 23 shootings on Los Angeles County freeways since mid-June, leaving four persons dead and 12 persons injured. Statewide, he added, there have been 222 incidents involving guns during the same time period.

"Something has to be done," he said. "And it has to be done now. Not tomorrow."

Before the vote, Assemblywoman Teresa P. Hughes (D-Los Angeles) tried but failed to amend the bill to spend another $3 million to allow the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department to hire 60 new officers.

Hughes said the new officers should be assigned to combat gang and drug-related crimes, which she said often are related to freeway violence.

The amendment was tabled on a 39-30 vote after Zeltner said he feared that it would slow down passage of the governor's bill during the final days of the legislative session, scheduled to end Sept. 11.

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