After nearly a decade away, Stephanie Williams was happy not only to be back, but to proudly show off the Harbor Station jail to locals who gathered at the Los Angeles Police Department facility on Monday for a press conference officially announcing the reopening of the station house’s jail.
A senior detention officer, also known as a jailer, she has worked with the department for 18 years but only had the chance to work at the then-new jail for nine months before it was closed in 2010 because of budget cuts. She and her peers were transferred to the 77th Division’s jail.
“Harbor is like home,” Williams, 59, said of the community. “This is where I’ve raised my children and some of my grandchildren, but for others who live here, it’ll be great knowing that when we’re here, their loved ones who get picked up are safe and secure.”
The jail will reopen at 7 a.m. Sunday.
In all, 27 jailers will staff Harbor Station’s jail, brought in from the 77th and Metropolitan divisions.
Inmates, while here, are to get three meals a day and welfare checks on their cells every 30 minutes.
“I came here in 2009 and got to know the (police) officers like family,” Williams said. “It was very pleasant, and the officers learned to give us respect when we placed calls for (inmates’) medical help.”
On Monday, Williams and other jailers led handfuls of community members on tours of the jail, showing them the cells, the new security and the camera system.
The Harbor Station includes the local headquarters for police officers and and staffers. The jail here is the first of five LAPD jails that were shuttered in 2010 to reopen.
By swinging open its doors, the jail will allow police officers to book arrestees much quicker; they won’t have to make 30-mile roundtrips to put arrestees in LAPD’s jail in South Los Angeles.
Mona Sutton, chairwoman of the Community Police Advisory Board, said getting the facility reopened was a “monumental uphill battle” that included many residents driving to Downtown Los Angeles to voice their support, and a pro-police rally in front of the Harbor Station in 2017.
“The level of dedication, drive and commitment is an accomplishment akin to no other,” she said.