The Los Angeles Police Department has opened a new central jail after being forced to leave it empty for almost two years because of staffing shortages, reports the Los Angeles Times. The 172,000-square-foot facility, which carried a price tag of $84 million, was completed in May 2009. Police kept it mothballed because it required a significantly larger staff to operate than the smaller jail it is replacing.
In October, after unsuccessful attempts to win a hiring exception from city officials, Police Chief Charlie Beck decided he could wait no longer to close a dilapidated, decades-old jaill structure. He announced a controversial plan to open the new Metropolitan Detention Center by taking about 90 police officers off patrol assignments to help run the new facility. Beck called the old facility. “hideous. That we put arrestees, let alone our own people in there is terrible.”