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Cost of a Police Force in West Hollywood

October 04, 1992

Your Sept. 27 article on West Hollywood Prop. AA to form an independent police department was right on target. The cost of forming a police force is the bottom line. When independent estimates show such a police department would cost an additional $2 million to $3 million each year, it is a major issue.

It makes no sense to blight the city through cutbacks in other services to pay for it. It does not make sense to raise taxes or licensing fees on those who work or live in the city.

There are two real questions each voter must ask: Would a police force improve community relations? Would this police force be as effective in enforcing the law? It is doubtful either question could be answered with a yes. It would seem wiser to put more effort in community relations and sensitivity training.

We must also recognize behavior is a two-way street when interacting with other people. West Hollywood does have a large gay community, but another bottom-line issue is this:

If one is a member of the gay community, and you're walking to your car after 2 a.m. after a local bar has closed, possibly after a few drinks, one should cooperate if stopped by a law enforcement official. With the formation of a police force this will not stop. At this time of the night serious crimes often occur.

Based on my experience, I have no complaints about the Sheriff's Department, but I treat everyone with the kind of respect and dignity I like to receive.

MICHAEL L. STEMPEL

West Hollywood

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