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Council seeks report on LAPD communication with LAX police

Members of the Los Angeles City Council on Monday called for recommendations to ensure that airport police are promptly notified of 911 emergency calls that come from Los Angeles International Airport — potentially a top target for terrorists.

The council’s Public Safety Committee requested that the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles World Airports Police Department report back in July with ideas to resolve issues raised by the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Assn.

The group, which represents 425 officers, contends that the LAPD’s 911 operators regularly notify LAPD officers of emergency calls related to LAX, but do not notify airport police who are usually closer to the scene and can respond faster.

Association President Marshall McClain says the situation presents safety and liability issues, especially on calls involving assaults, reports of weapons, medical emergencies, traffic accidents with injuries and terrorist-related activity. McClain wrote the committee’s chairman, Councilman Greig Smith, in May requesting that something be done.

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High-ranking Los Angeles police officers and Airport Police Chief George Centeno told the committee that the calls cited by the association were probably anomalies and that LAPD has notified airport police of all 911 calls since March.

The LAPD leaders, however, said there can be delays because 911 dispatchers sometimes don’t contact airport police until they have more complete information about a call.

One possible solution discussed Monday was improving the airport police communication system so that the department can accept all 911 calls that originate on airport property. Currently, 911 calls from public telephones at LAX go straight to the LAPD, while calls from cellphones are routed to the LAPD through the California Highway Patrol.

dan.weikel@latimes.com

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