Los Angeles shifts money from neighborhood improvements to pay for jail staffing

Money intended for neighborhood improvements near a landfill will instead be used to staff L.A.'s new jail. The city will pay back the money over time.

The Los Angeles City Council has approved transferring nearly $640,000 from the Sunshine Canyon Community Amenities Trust Fund to the LAPD.

The idea is to allow detention officers on furloughs to go back to work full-time at the recently opened Metropolitan Detention Center downtown. Then, 27 police officers who are currently keeping an eye on inmates there can get back into their patrol cars at the end of the month.

Councilman Greig Smith, who represents the landfill area, says the City Attorney's Office had some initial reservations about the legality of borrowing from the trust fund, but later determined the criteria for using money that's come from a tax on the dump is flexible enough that transferring it probably won't be a problem. The loan is to be repaid in two to three years.

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