The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved the formation of a task force to study the implementation of a nonemergency phone number that would complement 911.
Councilman Michael Feuer, who represents the southeast San Fernando Valley and has championed the idea of a 311 number, said the Police Commission and the mayor's office also have agreed to compromise on the program's budget.
The commission and the council had put annual costs at $294,000, while the mayor estimated $217,000.
"It's pretty easy to reconcile these two budgets," Feuer said, noting adjustments to the proposed 311 staff salaries would leave the final figure somewhere in between.
The task force will be composed of city officials who will examine issues including staffing, operating budget and educating the public about the new number. The group will not meet until budget talks are completed and reports on the 311 plan from participating city departments are received by the council's Public Safety Committee in May.
The council also directed the task force to report back to the Public Safety Committee in the next six months. Feuer said it would be at least a year before 311 goes into effect.
In promoting the plan, Feuer has cited a trial program in Baltimore that officials credit with relieving strain on operators. In Los Angeles, police say that nearly 85% of the 5 million annual 911 calls are not for true emergencies. Baltimore police report that the implementation of 311 has decreased the level of nonemergency 911 calls to 11%.