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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Hearing on Disbanding of Police Scheduled

October 25, 2000

COMPTON — The Police Department appears to be dead. Its operations have been turned over to the Los Angeles County sheriff, its officers have been scattered to other sheriff's postings, and its chief has retired.

But Superior Court Judge David P. Yaffe on Tuesday offered the slightest chance of reviving the defunct department.

Yaffe scheduled a Jan. 4 hearing to determine whether the department's closing violated the City Charter. Although all parties to the dispute consider such a ruling unlikely, Yaffe could order a reversal of the transfer.

Sheriff's deputies began policing Compton on Aug. 17 after Yaffe turned down a request by the city's then-police chief, Hourie Taylor, and three local political figures for a temporary restraining order to preserve the Police Department. Taylor had argued that the closing of the department represented a change in the City Charter that should be put before voters. But the chief's lawyer, Richard Silber, complained about Yaffe's unwillingness to grant a hearing.

During a conference with lawyers Tuesday morning, the judge scheduled the hearing as a response to the complaint, but said he hadn't changed his thinking in the case.

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