Sheriff’s watchdog says cameras making jails safer

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Hundreds of video cameras installed inside L.A. County jails over the past couple of years have been effective in determining whether allegations of abuse by Sheriff’s deputies are legitimate. Mike Gennaco, who leads the Department of Independent Review, the independent Sheriff’s watchdog, says the cameras have helped to build cases against some deputies, as well as to exonerate others who were falsely accused. More than 700 cameras have been installed inside the downtown Men’s Central Jail since an FBI investigation detailed a litany of misconduct by deputies, including beatings and sexual contact with inmates. An additional 800 cameras have been placed in other L.A. County jails. In 2013, the Sheriff’s Department dismissed 97 deputies and other employees for misconduct, 30 more than in the previous two years combined…greenlineIf you were hoping L.A.’s light-rail boom would finally mean a train directly to LAX, you’re out of luck. The Metropolitan Transit Authority says the risks of tunneling under the airport are too high – and that extending rail lines directly to LAX would be too expensive. Instead, board members yesterday decided to end the planned Crenshaw-LAX Line about a mile-and-a-half east of the airport. Passengers would then take a circular train to reach the terminals. That would leave L.A. with two rail lines that stop short of the airport. The Green Line ends south of LAX, requiring passengers to take a shuttle bus to complete their trip…A controversial Vernon battery recycling plant is the target of a bill hat has cleared the state Senate. Huntington Park Democrat Ricardo Lara claims the plant has been operating without a permanent license. His bill would require owner Exide Technologies to make substantial improvements or shut the plant down. The recycling business has allegedly been spewing lead and arsenic into the air for years, endangering the health ofsmogtens of thousands of residents. State regulators shut down the plant last year, but a judge ordered it reopened…California’s air continues to get cleaner: state officials say smog and soot levels have dropped by 15 to 20 percent in urban areas in the past decade. But about one third of the population still lives in places where the air does not meet federal health standards. In the South Coast region, which includes L.A. and Orange counties, the number of high ozone days has dropped 21 percent in the past decade. But about 40 percent of residents – or six million people – still live in air areas with high smog…dodgerhockeyAnd finally, Dodger Stadium has hosted many historic events since it first opened in 1962. There’ve been lots of baseball games, of course, but also concerts by the likes of Elton John and Madonna and even an enormous Catholic mass celebrated by Pope John Paul II. But tomorrow will be the first time they’ve every played a hockey game in Chavez Ravine. The Kings and Ducks will face off on a rink constructed in the vicinity of the infield as the NHL promotes its sport in a series of outdoor matches around the country. Of course, playing outdoors in L.A. poses some unusual problems – namely keeping the ice cold when temperatures tomorrow could reach the low 80s.