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Bell police were ordered to bring in revenue

September 23, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Thursday's monthly neighborhood watch meeting in Bell took on a different tone as residents came to seek reassurance and answers from the police department, which had been ordered to make money for the city by impounding cars and giving excessive tickets."Before, you would drive out here really scared. You would be wondering are they going to stop me, are they going to give me a ticket?" said resident Adriana Miramontes.

Many Bell residents said for years they did not trust their police officers because of the excessive traffic stops and impounds made within the city.

Longtime Bell police officer Kurt Owens said it was former city manager Robert Rizzo that ordered his department to focus on impounds as a revenue source for the city.

"They had graphs and charts and daily quotas, daily activity logs you had to fill out and if you did your correct amount your name was in green and if you didn't do your correct amount your name was in red."

Officers said the department had made $800,000 on impounds alone in the previous year.

At Thursday's meeting, police officers tried to reassure the community that with Rizzo and seven others now facing charges the police will be moving in a different direction.

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