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LAPD Breaks Ground On New Police Station Despite Fears Of Toxic Contamination

A rendering of the new Northeast Community Police Station, slated to open 2015 (via Facebook)
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LAPD broke ground this morning on a new Northeast Community Police Station to be built adjacent to the site of the current station—despite fears the location may be contaminated with toxic chemicals. The current Northeast Station, located on San Fernando Road in Glassell Park, is housed in a building that was originally used as a Kodak film processing lab that the department took over in 1983.

"While this existing station has served its purpose, it's a horrible facility that wasn't made to be a police station. It has issues that concern the people that work there," Chief Charlie Beck told CBS Los Angeles. Among these concerns is the presence of toxins in the soil that have made many of the officers that have served at the facility mysteriously ill, although the city says that the station is safe.

Officer J.C. Duarte, who has worked at he station for 27 years, told CBS Los Angeles, "In '91 I was working with a partner who ended up dying of a very rare cancer and it started raising some flags. About four years later, I developed a tumor that my doctor was unable to explain." Duarte is not alone, as colleagues have been stricken with maladies ranging from headaches to brain cancer. In 2000, Officer Lenning Davis told CBS he was diagnosed with pemphigus vulgaris, an autoimmune disorder that, "has hospitalized me twice and put me on medications that I'll have to be on for the rest of my life."

Among the plethora of chemicals contaminating the soil are cyanide, heavy metals, and hydrocarbon compounds. Despite the presence of these chemicals in the soil, the city insists the contamination is minimal and at acceptable levels, and that a comparative study found that the Northeast Station was no more likely to make people sick than other stations. However, the studies cited by the LAPD were last done fourteen years ago.

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Even though the city officially doesn't fear the chemical contamination on the current cite, Chief Beck acknowledged the concerns and assured the new station would be even safer. "That’s why we didn’t rebuild on the old site. We moved sites. We brought in all new dirt. We’re going do tests and we want to keep this as a safe station."

The new station is expected to be completed by late 2015.

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