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CHINATOWN : Opening of Police Substation Nears

August 06, 1995|MARILYN MARTINEZ

The first of six proposed Los Angeles police substations in the department's Central Division will probably be open for business in Chinatown by the end of September, police and community leaders say.

The "district stations" are part of a plan by Central Division administrators to put police in closer contact with the smaller communities that make up their patrol areas. The plan, still being reviewed by Police Department management, would create district stations with assigned patrol officers and administrative personnel.

"The belief is if we get the police out in the community, then they are going to be more responsive and the community would be more responsive," said Lt. Louis Trovato, Central Division's detective commanding officer.

Police officials have divided the division's 4.6 square miles of patrol area into three districts. Those districts are roughly anchored by Chinatown, the Civic Center and the Convention Center. Three district committees, made up of community members and police officials, are exploring ideas for their respective areas.

Much of the plan relies on the private donation of office space or a building to the department for each station.

So far, plans for the station in Chinatown are the most advanced. A two-story building at 823 N. Hill St. is being offered to police for $1 a year by the Chinatown Public Safety Assn. The building is now used as a police drop-in station and the association's headquarters.

"We are looking at much quicker response time for police service and then also looking at convenience in going to report the crime," said Henry Leong, association vice president.

Chinatown residents must now go to the Central Division's headquarters at 5th and Wall streets to make a crime report. At a district station, residents could make the report and speak to a translator who knows Mandarin or Cantonese.

The association is offering to staff the district station with a Chinese-language translator, an administrative assistant, and to maintain the building. Also included would be the use of office equipment such as phones, photocopiers, desks and video recorders.

Other amenities include lockers and showers, a break room and parking. The association plans to raise $37,400 to pay for some of the amenities.

"This is a premier example of the community working with the police," Leong said.

Trovato said the creation of small districts within the division, each supervised by a police manager, would allow for a more targeted response to area crime.

"Basically, the concept is they want to flatten the organization and push the decision making down to a lower level and empower some of the middle managers to become more involved with the community," Trovato said.

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