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LAX airport police seek increased cooperation from the LAPD

June 5, 2010 |  1:15 pm

http://www.latimes.com/media/photo/2010-01/51458736.jpg

Airport police who patrol Los Angeles International Airport and belong to a separate department contend that Los Angeles Police Department operators have regularly contacted only LAPD officers, even though they may be farther away and take longer to reach the airport, even when the most serious calls come in.

The situation has emerged as a safety concern for the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Assn., which recently wrote a letter to Los Angeles City Councilman Greig Smith, who chairs the council's public safety committee. The association, which represents 425 LAX officers, demanded that something be done.

"We are talking about things happening in a terminal where officers are stationed and they are not being notified," said Marshall E. McClain, president of the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Assn. "We need to be aware of incidents so we can respond. There are both safety and liability concerns. Someone could get hurt."

Los Angeles police said that improving communications between the two departments was a primary goal, but they disagreed with some of the association's claims.

Based on department records, Lt. John Romero, an LAPD spokesman, said that from Jan. 1, 2009, to May 26, 2010, airport police were notified in most cases. He also said airport police can monitor LAPD's radio calls and broadcast on the department's frequencies.

"Part of any good relationship is a free flow of information and a commitment to making improvements at every opportunity," said Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck. "The LAPD and LAXPD enjoy a good relationship and are committed to examining the concerns of the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Assn."

Airport Police Chief George Centeno said the airport police association took its concerns to the department's commanders in March and meetings were held with LAPD. Since then, he said, airport police have been notified of 911 calls by LAPD.

Read the full story here.

-- Dan Weikel and Andrew Blankstein

Photo credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

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