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Although the very much needed, new Los Angeles Police Department Jail in downtown Los Angeles was supposed to be opening soon, progress may be halted by staffing and fiscal shortages.

The new jail was originally slated to open in March of 2008; however, there have been several construction delays. Now scheduled to open by February 1st, 2010, the new Metro Center Jail would need at least double the amount of officers of what’s currently needed at the existing Parker Center Jail in Los Angeles.

On any given shift at the new Metro facility, at least 62 detention officers would be required to staff it due to its larger size and because the facility is separated into different pod areas. Additionally, there is currently a hiring freeze on detention officer positions (aka jailers) who are specially trained civilians. These positions are needed to staff the newly developed Metro center, but the freeze would have to be lifted first. In all, the new $74 million Metro Detention Center will need 164 detention officers just for it to run and operate correctly on a daily basis.

The Parker Center jail is gaining an increasingly bad reputation. Said to be more of a dungeon with bad lighting, some have reported giant cockroaches, bad plumbing and no surveillance cameras or electric locks on the cells at Parker Center. In a recent Los Angeles Times piece, Commander Jeffrey Greer stated, “We’re in a tough situation right now.”  The new high-tech Metro facility would feature much needed space, the latest technology in surveillance cameras, computerized security and custom air filtration systems, just to name a few.

 If a solution is not found to the city’s fiscal crisis, Parker Center will have to remain operational. The new 174,000 square foot empty Metro Detention Center will just have to wait. In a related LA Times article, Chief William J. Bratton expressed his concern by stating, “It is going to require the city to take a much more focused look at these personnel needs.

The general public can always obtain information on inmates who are in custody at any of the jails operated by either the Los Angeles Police Department or the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. For information about persons arrested, the public can call 213-485-5235 or 213-473-6100, 24 hours a day.

Published: 10/21/2009

Metro Center Jail Update 06/22/2010