In a vote that Valley lawmakers said they hoped would be the first step in bringing a new police bureau to the area, the Los Angeles City Council Wednesday approved a motion calling for a two-month study of the issue.
The motion, which instructs the Los Angeles Police Department to report back to the council within 60 days on the feasibility of creating one or two new operational bureaus in the city, was introduced last week by five council members, including four who represent portions of the Valley.
Los Angeles now is divided into four bureaus, each headed by a deputy chief who serves as the administrator for police activities in their area.
The Valley Bureau, which contains five police divisions and serves more than 1.2 million residents, is by far the city's largest. In contrast, the South Bureau serves 613,889 residents and the West and Central bureaus serve 802,583 and 852, 410 residents, respectively, according to LAPD statistics.
Councilman Richard Alarcon, who wrote the motion and who for years has pushed for a sixth Valley police division, said because of its size splitting the Valley Bureau should be the department's top priority.
"When we get too far beyond 600,000 people served by a single bureau, that's beyond the managing capacity of one person," Alarcon said. "Clearly the San Fernando Valley, with 1.2 million people, deserves another bureau."
Council members Joel Wachs, Hal Bernson, Cindy Miscikowski and John Ferraro co-sponsored the motion, which passed Wednesday by a 12-0 vote.