4235 Monterey Road
Los Angeles, CA 90032




Park Rangers
The Department of Recreation and Parks employs approximately 50 park rangers to patrol approximately 365 parks in the City of Los Angeles. They are responsible for law enforcement and public safety, as well as helping the public have a quality experience in the CityÕs parks. Public safety primarily includes enforcing the City's laws and ordinances. The Park Rangers also engage in activities such as fire prevention, and search and rescue operations, in coordination with other City departments, such as the Los Angeles Police Department's (LAPD) and Los Angeles Fire Department. The park rangers have peace officer status although the only weapons they carry are mace and batons. They typically issue misdemeanor citations when necessary, and employ the LAPD's assistance for more serious offenses.

Los Angeles Police Department
Debs Park is located in the LAPD Hollenbeck area, in Reporting Districts 0402 and 0403. The nearest police station is located at 2111 East First Street. The average response time to emergency calls in the Hollenbeck area during 1998 was 6.6 minutes, which equals the Citywide average. There are approximately 260 sworn officers and 31 civilian support staff deployed over three watches in the Hollenbeck Area. Predominant crimes in this area consist of burglary from residences, aggravated assault, theft from vehicles, and vehicle theft.

Onsite Conditions
Isolation of the park from view and the availability of numerous places to "hide" make portions of the park attractive for unlawful activities. Existing crime problems at Debs Park consist primarily of graffiti and other forms of vandalism, including setting fires and shooting firearms. Graffiti exists on the inside and outside of restrooms, and on picnic benches, drinking fountains, garbage cans, stones, fencing, trees, etc. The other predominant form of vandalism at the park consists of damage from guns. Bullet holes can be found in the garbage cans and restrooms. Outdoor lights have been shot out. Additional problems include people riding all-terrain vehicles on and off the trails. The Department of Recreation and Parks has a graffiti clean-up unit, which usually responds within 24 hours of notification, however the amount of graffiti at the Park makes it difficult to keep up. Park rangers lock the vehicular entrances and the restrooms at night. The lock-up time varies since Debs Park is one of several along a route of parks maintained by park rangers.

Persons drinking alcoholic beverages and an ongoing lack of Park Rangers and authority figures in the park cause several issues of concern, including the safety of personnel in evening or nighttime hours. Adding new safety features would be a benefit, such as call boxes and the posting of emergency phone numbers to contact public services in case of an accident or to report a crime in progress. Given the existing condition, all new or improved facilities will require a constant form of security system to prevent graffiti and vandalism.

An option is to provide a ranger sub-station or ranger residence that would consist of a 24-hour presence in the Park, consisting of three shifts of park rangers. Under this scenario, the park rangers assigned to Debs Park would also be responsible for other City parks along the Arroyo Seco, including Arroyo Seco Park and Sycamore Grove Park.

Safety Recommendations:
• It is suggested that there be a ranger substation or ranger residence in the Park. The location should be determined by the Park Rangers, the City, and the Debs Park Oversight Committee. Two possible locations are adjacent to the Los Angeles Nature Center or the maintenance yard. Provide a 24-hour caretaker to allow for ongoing surveillance of the park.

• It is suggested that there be a Park Ranger dedicated to Debs Park and nearby Parks.

• Require new or improved facilities to install a security system to reduce graffiti and vandalism.

• Replace and repair vandalized facilities, such as all missing light fixtures or bathrooms fixtures.

• Provide park programming and construct the Los Angeles Nature Center to increase safety by discouraging the presence of unlawful activities.

• Reduce inappropriate nighttime use by officially closing the park, entrance gates, and asking visitors to leave. However, to provide for community evening use, dedicate a location within Area I and Area II for nighttime activities (i.e. picnics, art festival). This area shall be properly lighted and patrolled.

• Close vehicular access to the interior of the park at sunset.

• Post telephone numbers to call for an emergency or to report unlawful activities.

• Install call boxes throughout the park: possible locations include the parking lots, and top of hill near the reservoir.

• Conduct a lighting analysis for areas of public safety concern and identify locations for new lighting poles. The lighting analysis must consider any potential light and glare impacts on neighbors and must be compatible with natural/wild areas.

• Select lighting fixtures that are vandal-proof.

• Promote ongoing liaison with local safety committees and community associations to continually work on safety issues.

•  Provide graffiti-resistant signs.

• Place signs at a height to prevent their being easily spray-painted.

Fire Protection
Two fire stations serve Debs Park. Fire Station No. 12 (5921 N. Figueroa Street) is located 0.6 miles northeast of the park, and Station No. 47 (4575 Huntington Drive South) is 0.4 miles southeast of the park. The existing fire hydrants are in good condition. However, Debs Park is considered by the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) as an area of inadequate fire hydrant service. These problems are compounded by the steep slope gradients that typify the park. In addition, the existing irrigation/fire system is inadequate and should be replaced with either a combination irrigation/fire suppression system or separate fire system. The fire system must be capable of serving two fire hydrants at any one time and of providing 1,500 gallons per minute (GPM) at the fire hydrant at the end of the line (highest elevation).

Fire-Fighting Water System Recommendations:
• Provide three new fire hydrants and improve the water line along the trail leading from the parking lot to the reservoir.

• Provide a fire hydrant near the Nature Center, provided by Audubon as part of the construction project.

• Improve the existing irrigation/fire prevention system so that is capable of serving two fire hydrants at a time while it is still able to serve the fire hydrant at the end of the line with 1,500 GPM.

Brush Clearance
Some maintenance activities, once thought of as neutral in their impacts, are now known to degrade natural resources by causing an increase in erosion and the presence of weedy plant species. This includes discing for brush clearance, an activity that reduces the park's natural quality, removes important wildlife habitat, and kills wildlife.

Recommendations of the Draft Framework Plan are designed to protect public safety from the dangers of fire and other hazards, while also allowing for the soil, grasslands, coastal sage scrub, and woodlands to recover from years of degradation. Based on LAFD guidelines, fuel modification areas are to be strategically placed as a buffer between natural areas and the perimeter of future structures. The park is subject to fuel modification activities within areas of natural vegetation. As defined in the County's Fuel Modification Plan Guidelines, which have been adopted by the LAFD:

"A fuel modification area is a strip of land where combustible native or ornamental vegetation is required to be modified and/or partially or totally replaced with drought tolerant, fire resistant plants. Fuel modification reduces the radiant and convective heat, and provides the Fire Department with a defensible space in which to take action."

As part of its ongoing fuel modification plan, the Department of Recreation and Parks (DRP), in accordance with LAFD guidelines, annually clears combustible vegetation within 10 feet of both sides of the trails that are accessible by emergency vehicles. In addition, the DRP is required by the LAFD to annually clear combustible vegetation within 200 feet of any onsite or offsite structures.

Brush Clearance Recommendations:
• Request the Los Angeles Fire Department to work closely with the City, Audubon Society, and Park Advisory Board to develop a Brush Clearance and Fire Management Plan. This plan will provide guidelines to Debs Park staff for use in conducting brush clearance including the location, and timing of vegetation clearing.

• Where possible, conduct all brush clearance by mowing, using hand-held tolls, and/or using equipment that does not turn over the soil.

• Do not allow brush clearance contractor or City staff to perform brush clearance beyond the minimum City requirement.

• Discing may be necessary along roadsides outside the 200-foot buffer zone for buildings and ancillary structures.

• Depending on available resources, all trees within brush clearance areas will be trimmed 6 feet from the ground and all dead material removed.

• Trim branches 5 feet from any roof structure. &8226; Keep all roofs free of a substantial accumulation of leaves, needles, twigs, and other combustible material.

• It is suggested that cut vegetation, which is not an invasive exotic weed, may be machine processed (chipped) and spread back onto the property. If feasible, prior to cutting and spreading vegetation, a qualified botanist would review the materials and approve the vegetation to be spread.

• Do not exceed a 3-inch depth of chips within 100 feet; and 6" inch depth beyond 100 feet of any structure, per LAMC requirements.

• Clear brush from roadways to allow safe passage of vehicles without risk of igniting fire.


Several types of maintenance activities are involved in the upkeep of Debs Park. Mowing, minor repairs, collecting refuse, and cleaning restrooms are performed on an ongoing basis. By contrast, replacing roofs or re-paving roads are long-term maintenance activities. In order to improve the efficiency of each, prevention is the third element of park maintenance. Maintenance Recommendations: · Enlarge the Maintenance Yard refuse truck turn-around to allow for an increased range of movement. · Adopt a wildlife friendly maintenance regime based on recommendations developed in this plan and through collaboration with Audubon.