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Compton City Council votes to create new police department

June 1, 2010 | 10:51 pm

A split Compton City Council voted Tuesday night to reestablish the city’s police department, a decade after the force was disbanded amid high crime rates and political infighting between police commanders and city leaders.

Compton Mayor Eric J. Perrodin cast the deciding vote in the 3-2 decision to end the city’s contractual relationship with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

"I don't know if everybody heard me," Perrodin said as he voted over heckles from the audience. "Aye!"

City officials said that reinstalling their own police force in place of the sprawling Sheriff's Department would return a sense of local pride absent since the local department was shuttered.

Opponents said the resolution has been rushed by the city’s elected officials. Some residents have expressed concerns that a local police force would be hard-pressed to match the services provided by the Sheriff's Department, which includes access to homicide and narcotics units and a fleet of helicopters.

In its final years, the old Compton Police Department was perceived by some critics as powerless to stop violence. Under the Sheriff's Department, violent crime, though still high, has decreased. There were 55 murders in 1999 compared with 37 last year, records show.

City officials said the process to form a new department would take about a year.

-- Robert Faturechi from Compton City Hall