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Sheriff’s Station expanding

Satellite office will ease overcrowding at aging facility

Posted: September 3, 2008 9:10 p.m.
Updated: November 5, 2008 5:00 a.m.
 

Santa Clarita Valley sheriff’s detectives will soon be moving into some new digs since the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a request for 9,500 square-feet in additional office space Tuesday.
Supervisors gave the local sheriff’s station permission to lease the extra space, which the department claims will relieve overcrowding at the current station.

“We’re really happy that this part is being done. People are just packed on top of each other here,” Captain Anthony LaBerge said. “It’s been a long drawn-out process but now they’ve approved a year-end lease with the owners.”

In the next month or so, the station’s detectives will be moving files, equipment and support staff into office space on Citrus Street which is around the corner from the existing station.

Once the lease is signed and “facility personnel” have a chance to make some modifications, staff assigned to the Detective Bureau will begin moving into the new offices, La Berge said.

“Our goal is to be in there as soon as possible because we’re in very cramped quarters right now,” he said. “Obviously, it will make for a more efficient working environment.”

Once the Detective Bureau relocates, renovations to the old station are expected to begin almost immediately, he added.

“We’ll be able to knock out walls and set up a dispatch center,” La Berge said.

Renovations — which also call for changes made to the secretarial pool — will free up many departments within the station.

“Lt. (Brenda) Cambra is working out of an old interview room off of a jail cell in a six-by-six room,” La Berge said, referring to the station’s spokeswoman.

“We’re really happy about this,” Cambra said. “With the Detective Bureau and all its staff moving there, that will free up space for some of the intended movement of staff here.”

The existing sheriff’s station on Magic Mountain Parkway at Valencia Boulevard was built in the 1970’s and was intended to house 90 people.

At least 200 staffers work there now.

Current overcrowding at the station is due to population growth in Santa Clarita Valley.

In May, county supervisors approved a motion to establish a fee system that would pay for new law enforcement buildings should the need arise.

The fees — which can be obtained through the state’s Law Enforcement Facilities Mitigation Fee — were prepared by county lawyers as a way of collecting money from anyone developing new homes in Santa Clarita, Newhall and Gorman.

As a result of the May decision, five new law enforcement facilities are expected to be built in and around Santa Clarita including an expansion of the Sheriff’s station in Santa Clarita, one in Newhall, Gorman, Palmdale and Lancaster.

The temporary detective offices on Citrus promise to be the most convenient and immediate option available.

“Parking is a huge issue,” Cambra explained. “And, this gives us 38 extra spaces.”

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