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Prefix Change Disrupts Some Calls to Police

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Phone service at six San Fernando Valley police divisions was disrupted Friday night and Saturday, blocking some outgoing and incoming non-emergency calls. Emergency 911 service was not interrupted, a representative said.

The disruption came as Pacific Bell was changing the prefix for the police stations’ telephones in an effort to enhance service.

The telephone company changed the prefixes of 989, 902, 904, 908, 376 to the new prefix of 756. The last four digits of the police telephone numbers will remain the same. Callers were referred to the new number by a recording, spokeswoman Lori Taylor said.

“The normal procedure is to make the changes after business hours, but with a business that is (open) 24 hours, that is difficult,” said Gary Sanderson, a spokesman for Pacific Bell. “Essentially there are some problems, but what those problems are I don’t know. We are still working on it.”

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Stations throughout the Valley reported problems with out-going calls Friday, but most were still able to receive calls.

“The phones have been rolling on and off sporadically,” said Sgt. Robert M. Weisz of Van Nuys Division, where two out of the four non-emergency lines had no dial tone. “But it is only a few lines and it doesn’t create an emergency problem.”

But problems continued Saturday.

“The lines are all screwed up,” a desk officer at the Van Nuys station said. Pacific Bell “did it to speed things up instead of slowing them down, but it has been problematic.”

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Other officers said they were not given enough notice of the impending change. “We weren’t notified until last Thursday and I had just ordered 200 business cards with the old phone number,” said Sgt. Mel Cunningham of Valley Traffic Division. “I am pretty upset.”


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