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American Shipper

Officials break ground on Long Beach port security center

Officials break ground on Long Beach port security center

Following years of slow development, Port of Long Beach officials broke ground Tuesday on a $20 million 25,000-square-foot security center that will house the port's security officers and offices for other law enforcement agencies.

   The new Security Command and Control Center will serve as the new headquarters for the Port of Long Beach Harbor Patrol officers and Security Division administrators. Harbor Patrol dispatch, division communications, and a port-wide camera system, all currently run out of the port administration building and manned by Harbor Patrol officers, will be relocated to the new facility when it opens in fall 2008. The Harbor Patrol's new dive team and mobile command center will also be headquartered at the facility. Personnel from the Long Beach Police Department and the Port of Los Angeles will also maintain offices in the new building.

   The port is picking up about 60 percent of the tab for the new building with grants from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security adding the remaining $8 million to the total $20 million price tag.

   Under terms of the federal grants, the three-story center must operate as a regional resource and provide emergency management facilities including a Department Operations Center for use in coordinating law enforcement response to emergencies anywhere the San Pedro Bay port complex.

   Initial design work on the center began several years ago, but construction was delayed due to design, location and funding issues.

   While the new building is designed to accommodate the entire staff of the port's Security Division, including a newly swelled administrative section, the division has in the past been notoriously understaffed in actual patrol officer positions. Retention and recruitment have remained an ongoing issue with the division. Long Beach Harbor Patrol officers, considered by some as the first line of defense at the port, do not have full arrest powers and are some of the lowest paid law enforcement officers in the city.

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