Bell City Council to vote on cutting police force

BELL - The Bell City Council will vote tomorrow on whether to save money and eliminate its police department with the goal of combining policing with the Maywood Police Department.

Bell police oppose the move, issuing a statement saying about half the force will lose their jobs under the proposal.

"Our community will lose the experience, knowledge and personal relationships of officers who have served Bell residents for years,'' said Gilbert Jara, president of the Bell Police Officers Association.

"All officers, with families who count on them, will be laid off without cause and will be left in limbo during a recession,'' he said. "Even if they are rehired, they will be unduly handicapped in their ability to do the job due to staffing cuts. Public safety and officer morale will be severely compromised for some time.''

Maywood has already downsized its department, which recently lost its insurance coverage because of the city's failure to hire a permanent city manager and recent officer-involved shootings, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"This termination potentially puts the city in the position where it cannot continue to operate its police department and provide other city services,'' city officials said on the city's website.

Interim City Manager Angela Spaccia said the loss of insurance adds new impetus to combining with Bell police, because it might make it easier to get its insurance back, according to the Times.