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LAPD faces huge logistical challenges during Michael Jackson memorial

July 6, 2009 |  5:09 pm

City leaders are bracing for logistical challenges Tuesday as they try to keep Los Angeles running amid the Michael Jackson memorial.

The event is expected to draw hundreds of thousands to downtown Los Angeles, despite the city's call for only ticket-holders to attend.

Sources familiar with memorial planning operations say several thousand city police and fire personnel will be assigned to the private and public Michael Jackson memorials, including public safety, crowd and traffic control, crime suppression and security around the event.

Officers will spread around the city with the bulk of the force deployed to Staples Center, the Jackson family compound in Encino, the home where Jackson was stricken and Forest Lawn Memorial cemetery, where the family will hold a private memorial before the public event at Staples.

Officers were also on hand at Dodger Stadium to provide traffic control for those distributing public tickets for the Jackson memorial.

For the LAPD, which has compressed what would normally be months of event planning into days, the number of officers being deployed amounts to nearly a dozen for each of the city’s 21 police divisions, sources said.

The cost for police services alone is expected to be at least $2.5 million, including security at the Jacksons' Encino compound and the rented home where Jackson lived before his death. “It could go higher. It won’t go lower,” said a source involved with the planning.

The LAPD is also likely to issue a tactical alert, which allows the department to keep officers on duty and might require delayed response to minor police calls. 

Kobe Bryant, Jennifer Hudson, Lionel Richie, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder and Brooke Shields are among the celebrities scheduled to be involved at the Staples ceremony.

Organizers announced the participants this morning. Many are entertainment figures, but there are also some from the political world, including Martin Luther King III and the Rev. Al Sharpton, who has been serving as a Jackson family adviser.

-- Andrew Blankstein