Police officers are "just people, not machines," said Officer Larry Monte, and the Los Angeles Police Department's West Valley station will open its doors Oct. 8 so that residents can see that for themselves.
The fifth annual open house is designed to break down barriers between police and the people they serve, Monte said, barriers that seem sturdier than ever.
Officers want "to get the community involved, have them come to the station and realize . . . they have nothing to be afraid of when we come," he said. "We're the good guys, not the bad guys."
To that end, organizers have rounded up some 30 police displays as well as others from private crime-fighting groups.
Certain to draw a crowd is the LAPD criminalist van detectives employed when gathering evidence at the scene of the Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman slayings, and at O. J. Simpson's Brentwood mansion. A SWAT team, bomb squad and police helicopter also will be on hand, as well as information on drug and community policing programs.
Recruitment officials will be available to discuss possible employment with those interested in careers in law enforcement, and the LAPD Mobile Museum--complete with "Dragnet" and Jack Webb memorabilia--will also stop by.
In addition to LAPD displays, Los Angeles Fire Department officials will offer earthquake safety tips, and members of Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Mad About Rising Crime will distribute information on their programs.
The event will run from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the West Valley Station, 19020 Vanowen St. in Reseda.