LAX to Maintain Separate Police Force

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Airport commissioners see no reason to merge the Los Angeles International Airport police department with the Los Angeles Police Department.

Security experts and others told commissioners Wednesday they support maintaining an independent police force at the airport and the commission, which stopped short of formally opposing a merger, agreed there were no compelling arguments for a merger.

The commission hired Maryland-based Counter Technology Inc. to study a possible merger and CTI concluded the airport department was a model for airport security nationwide and combining the departments would increase the cost of policing LAX by $30 million annually.

''We heard nothing ... that indicated that (the consultant's) findings or conclusions were incorrect. Nobody ... nobody in an hour-and-a-half said anything critical,'' Commissioner Peter Weil said.

Mayor James Hahn, who appointed the airport commissioners, came out in support of a merger last week.

Voters will decide May 17 on a measure to merge the departments. The measure asks voters whether the city charter should be amended to give the City Council, instead of the airport department, authority to order a merger.