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President Steve Soboroff Comments - June 24, 2014
When the City of Los Angeles and the LAPD were released from the Consent Decree in May of last year, substantial responsibilities and authority were transferred to the LAPC. It is mandated that we do not slide backward with any of the reforms, and I believe if any of your commissioners have a concern that this may be the case, that it best to be proactive, thorough, and transparent.
During the past 9 1/2 months your Commissioners have had the opportunity to visit each and every Divison, Bureau, and many special units of the Los Angeles Police Department. On the record, off the record, and sometimes anonymous letters, calls and communications have been encouraged via the IG and are regular occurrences.
I am convinced that if all LAPD employees were asked to prioritize their current issues as well as Our Commission Goals, that two stand above all others and, without committing to a relatively short term plan to fix, could have "consent decree" type consequences.
The first is: The impact of cash overtime not being fully restored to the Department.
This commission needs to hear the history and the wide it's ranging ramifications on both the current and short term operations and efficiency of the LAPD.
So, today I am requesting that a future public presentation from the Department at a Los Angeles Police Commission meeting be made when the appropriate Department staff are available, regarding OVERTIME.
We would like to hear all sides: arguments for and against. For example: How deployment is affected? What are the real financial costs of officers being paid not to, work, vs paying them overtime. Why does losing overtime present unique problems and downsides in LAPD) vs other city departments? I would like the report to include unedited input from the PPL and other stakeholders and certainly start with the premise that come every year from the budget makers across the street.
I believe that spending money to save money is prudent. That is why this department's current risk management and technology (EG on-officer cameras) focus will save millions most of which should go directly into restoring overtime to a level where we stop losing experienced officers at the current rate vs back to the general fund.
Secondly, I am requesting a similar historical and ramification report on the impact on recruitment and retention of police officers since the disparity in pay for Police Officer I & II positions has been in effect. 16 years ago entry level officers made $55,000. With a cost of living increase, today that number would be $81,000. But in 2014 we pay about $46,000 a HUGE decrease! A few years ago a 20% pay cut was implemented to Police officers 1 and II with promises of restoration which simply has not materialized.
With early release of prisoners, new laws which make urban community policing more complicated than ever, and competition for Americas best cops (LAPD), these two issues rise to the top of everybody's list.
Let's address them openly and thoughtfully in complete detail. The future of our City depends on maintaining America's finest Police Department, moving ahead (without slippage) on the consent decree reforms and discussions like these must happen regularly.
I look forward to the "Department's verbal report and discussion relative to the impact of reduced cash overtime for Department personnel and pay disparity for Police Officers."