REGION : Whittier OKs Plan to Police Santa Fe Springs

The Whittier City Council on Tuesday night unanimously approved a controversial proposal to expand its police department and patrol neighboring Santa Fe Springs beginning later this year.

The Santa Fe Springs City Council is expected to vote tonight on the proposal to cancel its longstanding contract with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and hire Whittier police instead.

If approved by both cities, Whittier would add 32 officers to its police department to patrol Santa Fe Springs. Officials estimated the switch would save Santa Fe Springs about $500,000 annually, a figure disputed by the sheriff's department.

Whittier City Manager Tom Mauk said council members were not concerned about a petition drive in Santa Fe Springs that would require residents to vote on a switch in law enforcement agencies.

"That's an issue that Santa Fe Springs is going to have to deal with," Mauk said. "We're ready to move ahead."

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