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West Hollywood to Get 7 New Deputies : Law enforcement: City's substation will receive about $635,000 from federal crime bill. Sheriff's Department will get $3 million to spend countywide.

October 20, 1994|SUSAN STEINBERG | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

West Hollywood has become the first Westside city to get a law enforcement boost from the crime bill recently signed by President Clinton, but other local communities may not be far behind.

Of the $200 million allocated nationwide in the first round of funding, West Hollywood will receive $635,828 for seven new officers. City officials say they will use the money to hire officers for the Los Angeles County sheriff's West Hollywood substation.

The first round of crime bill funding will also yield $3 million for the Sheriff's Department to spend countywide. Some of that money may eventually benefit the Westside because the sheriff's office plans to use the money--enough to hire 33 new officers--to boost law enforcement in unincorporated areas.

A sheriff's spokesman said the department has not decided exactly which areas will be targeted for more policing, however.

Clinton's crime bill, signed into law last month, sets aside $8.8 billion in grants to law enforcement agencies to hire police officers and implement community policing programs. The money is being allocated based on applications that law enforcement agencies submit to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Nationwide, the $200 million in grants announced last week will be used to help more than 385 jurisdictions across the nation hire 2,770 new officers--the first of 100,000 new police that the crime bill will help put on the country's streets over the next six years, according to the Clinton Administration. The grants will be distributed in the same amounts next year and in 1996.

California is expected to receive about $900 million over the next six years under the crime bill, about 85% of which could be used to hire about 10,200 more police officers, according to the Justice Department.

The 33 new officers that the Sheriff's Department plans to hire under the program will be deployed in some of the 2,672 square miles of unincorporated county land, not in any of the 42 cities that contract with the department for policing, said Lt. Jeff Springs, a department spokesman.

"Due to economic reasons, over the past several years we have had to cut back in our patrol of non-contract, unincorporated areas of the county," Springs said. Cities that contract with the department have suffered no cutbacks because their agreements with the agency establish a minimum level of patrols, he added.

To police an area with about 2.5 million people, the Sheriff's Department currently employs about 8,000 sworn officers, including those who staff courts and jails. Among the unincorporated areas the agency serves are Baldwin Hills, Marina del Rey and Windsor Hills.

West Hollywood, though it contracts with the Sheriff's Department, applied for its own federal grant and was awarded three years of funding for seven new officers. In its successful application to the Justice Department, the city touted its community policing program and enumerated some of its special needs, said Nancy Greenstein, West Hollywood's public safety administrator.

The city could decide to focus on preventing gay-bashing, for example, or on conflicts that have been occurring between Armenian and Russian immigrant youths, she said. Ultimately, however, the use of the new officers must be worked out with the Sheriff's Department, Greenstein said.

"We feel we already have good patrol coverage," Greenstein said. "So this gives us the opportunity to establish teams to respond to specific problems that we're not now able to respond to."

Although the Los Angeles Police Department was not one of the agencies to receive crime bill money, it plans to apply for three-year grants that would begin to be paid out in July, 1995, said Bayan Lewis, a deputy chief with the department.

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