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Warm Spell Leaves Valley Police Hot on the Trail of Crime

TIMES STAFF WRITER

There are hot crimes, hot cases and hot tips, but on Monday it was the cops who were hot.

In the Van Nuys Division’s detective unit, Los Angeles Police Department crime solvers were dripping on their paperwork as the inside temperatures climbed to more than 90 degrees. Calls to LAPD headquarters at Parker Center pleading for air-conditioning repair people went unanswered, they said.

“Apparently the whole building has called,” said the unit’s secretary, Prudy Young. “We expect it at this point. The hottest day of the year it will go out.”

It was little solace to the police that Van Nuys wasn’t the hottest spot in the Valley, with high temperatures of 100 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. That honor went to Woodland Hills at 105.

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Burbank reached a cool 97 and Newhall hit 104. Lancaster, in the Antelope Valley, reported a high of 106. It isn’t getting better any time soon. The National Weather Service is predicting Valley highs today between 95 and 105 degrees with only a 15 m.p.h. wind to cool us down. Overnight lows might dip to 62 to 72 degrees.

Wednesday should be slightly cooler. Highs Wednesday are expected to be between 92 and 102 degrees.

Officers in the Van Nuys station, which is water cooled by a “swamp cooler,” tried to beat the heat by drinking water, running fans that recirculated the hot air and, eventually, adjusting their attire.

Regulations or no regulations, Young said, by late afternoon the sweltering men began removing ties and undoing top buttons. “The women can’t do a whole heck of a lot other than complain,” she said.

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For the detectives, field reporting is the great gender equalizer: men and woman are both required to wear jackets, heat or no heat.

“You’re not supposed to unnecessarily expose your weapons when you’re working in public, which means you wear your coat regardless of temperature,” said Detective Joel Price of the West Valley Division. “It’s something that we know we have to do, and we do it. It is not pleasant, I’ll tell you that.”

But back in the Van Nuys Division, going outside was a pleasant respite. Grumbled one detective: “O.J. Simpson got his air conditioning fixed in jail.”


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