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LAPD opens emergency operations center

January 5, 2009 | 12:41 pm
Protest_kcq6j8nc The Middle East may be a half a world away but events there -- and their impact here -- are being closely monitored by the Los Angeles Police Department.

Over the weekend, the LAPD opened its emergency operations center in the wake of Hamas rocket attacks  against Israel and the Jewish state's bombing and invasion of the Gaza Strip. The center will be staffed indefinitely on a round-the-clock basis, said LAPD Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger.

The center "acts as a clearinghouse," says Paysinger, collecting information about the latest news related to the conflict and the reactions in Los Angeles, including "spontaneous protests" such as the one that took place Friday outside the Israeli Consulate on Wilshire Boulevard.

The "Level 1" activation means the department will be in a state of readiness, passing information between command staff, the area stations, city officials and other law enforcement agencies. But the increased footing means police will have an increased focus on critical sites throughout the area, as well as the possibility of clashes resulting from demonstrations.

-- Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Protest at the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles. Credit: Christine Cotter / Los Angeles Times