Northeast police station may get a multimillion dollar makeover

The officers at the crowded LAPD Northeast Division station in Glassell Park have watched as their peers in the adjacent Rampart and Hollenbeck divisions have moved into spacious and modern quarters. While visitors enter the Hollenbeck station in Boyle Heights through a hotel-like lobby framed in glass and steel,  the entrance to the Northeast station on San Fernando Road is barely wider than a hallway. Inside, a maze of narrow corridors connect offices and meeting rooms in the 41,000-square-foot building. A few years back, station employees complained about “unpleasant odors” in the building that once served as a photo processing center.  Now, the Northeast’s small and smelly station of nearly 30 years is poised to be replaced with a new $29.45 million structure that would replicate the offices of the new  Olympic Division station on Vermont Avenue.

“If it is approved, they would use the LAPD Olympic Police Station design/blueprint and build it on site here,” said Northeast Division Capt. Bill Murphy in an email. “Probably start construction in a year.  Parking would be off-site in the near vicinity of the station.”

The Northeast station, whose officers serve an area stretching from Echo Park and Silver Lake to Eagle Rock and Highland Park, was originally in line for a more modest, $7.51 million upgrade financed with funds by Prop. Q, a $600-million bond program approved by voters in 2002 to improve the city’s public safety facilities.  Police decided to look into a more ambitious project at the Northeast Division but there was insufficient bond money to cover the estimated $50 million  needed to build new offices, parking garage and maintenance facility, according to a report by city Administrative Officer Miguel A. Santana. Instead, officials decided to build only a new administrative office building and postpone the construction of a parking garage and maintenance facility “until such a time that it becomes financial feasible,” according to the report.

Olympic Station. Photo from Council District 13

The bond oversight committee signed off on the project in May, and Santana’s office has recommended that the City Council also approve the new building. The report must first be reviewed by the council’s Public Safety Committee.

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  1. Northeast has NOT been in that station for 30 years. I remember when they moved in there, and it was not 30 years ago. In fact, at that time, they insisted that space was a very superior layout and perfect for a police station, and the windowless bunker style they wanted. Now they trash it because they see opportunity for new — whether it is needed or not.

    We are cutting police and fire personnel. Maybe we should be spending this money on that rather than on a brand new station that really is not needed. We don’t need to replace a police station with a brand new one even every 30 years!

    • Tom, the reason why they are moving is because FIVE officers got cancer while working in this facility!!!! the chemicals used for the photos were dropped on the property and not properly disposed of. Noobs.

  2. @ Tom. The report said the LAPD has used the building since 1983.

  3. Well perhaps not the magic 30, but they’ve been there at least 23 years that I know of and the last time I was inside that station 20 years ago, it was already an over-crowded inefficient place.

    Tom makes a good point that the money might be better spent on personnel rather than a station, but I’d actually be happy to see a more hospitable and modernized home for Northeast Division. Certainly thanks to the us-vs-them mentality of Chief Daryl Gates, the department of 1970s-80s favored foreboding bunkers such as this, but I’m just not into forcing today’s officers to function in the outmoded and alienating architectural choices of yesterday’s leadership.

  4. I thought the state is in debt… But, like always, the city workers always get the perks.

  5. I’ve been inside that station and it makes Kojak look current. Rampart’s last precinct wasn’t 1/2 as bad as Northeast is – not sure why they got their new station first…

    • while in the NE station, I marveled at the small space, the fact that they were using rotary dial phones (!?!!!) and a computer that looked like my first computer ever. I say give them a new station. 30 years is a long time to spend in that dump (especially if it’s toxic).

  6. Rampart got their new station “first” because their old station actually was old and small. Northeast had one of the newest stations! It was at the forefront of the push for new stations in the past couple decades, was one of the first to get it — and now they already want it replaced!

    They have what they wanted, and more space they said they needed. If it seems a mess of a layout — well, that is the layout they have made. They can change the layout at will — it is just a big square box of a building, the interior can be laid out anyway they want. They don’t need a new building.

  7. Not to mention the abestos in the building and officers that have coincidently died of cancer from working there.

  8. Once again city workers complaining!!!!

  9. I agree with Tom, we should waste that money for now to keep the fire and police personnel. How about using that money to pay them for overtime that they haven’t got paid for the last 2 years for. Even better stop laying off or giving furloughs to the civilian employees who help both departments and pay them.

  10. I’ve always thought that building sends an awful visual message both to the public and to officers – that visual message being that we (the public and the city) don’t value and/or respect our police. It’s the same message we send to students when we don’t maintain our public school buildings.

    If the money is coming from a specific bond issue it can’t be transferred to other functionsn like general obligations so it may be a case of use it or lose it. IMO there will always be a reason/s to spend $ on something else so I am for the new building.

  11. It is important to note that the bond money can not be spent on personnel costs so that should not be used as an argument not to make the capital improvements. When I first saw the building 10-years ago, I thought it was the biggest eyesore in the neighborhood. I hope it gets built and improves the neighborhood.

  12. Yes, they should get a new station when there is money to do so with out cutting back on officers jobs.

  13. When will the construction start and how long is it going to take them?

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