Subsequent to your story on “Police to Add Substation, More Patrols in Palisades” (Times, Feb. 2), I chaired a meeting on the subject with Capt. Maurice Moore, West L.A. police subdivision head, and a number of interested community leaders. Moore advised the group that “no substation was planned; all that had happened was that the Chamber (of Commerce) would supply space with a telephone where the one-car patrol officers could file reports and telephone the Butler Avenue station.” He also felt that using private security services hindered police deployment.
Albeit Capt. Moore was knowledgeable about police services and limitations, it became obvious that we were speaking to the wrong person. The map unfurled showed his division responsible for an area of 64.5 square miles from La Cienega Boulevard west to Pacific Coast Highway, south to the Santa Monica city line, and north to the mountains. There has to be a change in boundaries as to what is the Westside. Response time, regardless of promises to do better, can’t be lessened because of the distances. And to suggest that use of private security services “hinders police deployment” is a non sequitur.
True, a substation is a cost item that would necessitate removing police officers from patrol (by car; not on foot as some believe), but overlooked is that a substation might be incorporated into mini-town halls that can serve the distinct neighborhoods in the Westside, such as the Palisades, with additional city services that now require citizens to travel either downtown or to the West L.A. City Hall. Such a facility, tied to parks, libraries, senior citizen centers, municipal courts, etc., would build the sense of community that is vital to citizen involvement and the pride to ensure that the neighborhood remains a place where one can live and enjoy life without some of the urban problems that frighten so many and endanger us all.
The neighborhood concept can tie into the present City Council system. It merits discussion. And that’s why I indicated earlier that we were addressing our needs to the wrong man. It’s a matter for the mayor and the City Council. I have written to Tom Bradley and Marvin Braude. The Times may wish to explore the question as well.
HYMAN H. HAVES