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Sheriff's officials deny that the deputies were trying to keep Harris downtown or prevent him from going back to Long Beach.

But LAPD officials and downtown community leaders aren't so sure. They have long been concerned about the possibility of dumping by other agencies — so much so that for several months, officers patrolling downtown have been under orders to stop and question any out-of-town police car they see cruising the area.

Smith said they enacted the policy after his officers reported seeing police cars from far-flung communities in the San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley and South Bay letting people off in downtown.

'Downtown Los Angeles is just not positioned to be the solution for every other city in L.A. County and the state parole system,' said Councilwoman Jan Perry, who represents most of downtown Los Angeles.

Dumping criminals, homeless and mentally ill people downtown has long been discussed as a problem, but even the most vocal critics have yet to prove a conspiracy by outside police departments."


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