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.
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.