Los Angeles: It is my obligation as Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department to inform the public what the impact would be if the full Council supports a freeze of all police hiring in fiscal year 2009/2010.
It’s simple math; if we don’t hire the 560 officers, which includes replacing those lost to attrition, each of our 21 area stations could lose 26 officers.
What that figure does not represent however, is the impact of the Civilian hiring freeze on the department. The City Council recently cut 371 vacant civilian jobs from our budget. Council decisions yet to be made in regards to civilian personnel could further impact the department’s patrol numbers. The shortage of civilian employees has already forced me to make tough decisions to pull cops off the streets to fill critical civilian vacancies.
The reduction in police officers would not be directed at any one council member’s district; all the council districts would be impacted. It’s that simple, and I’m telling it like it is. But the council must also realize that it could get even worse. If they impose furlough days for sworn personnel and salary cuts, many more officers may choose to retire. That will increase the department’s attrition rate and would mean even greater losses of officers throughout the city.
Next week as council members begin the difficult job of finalizing the budget I ask them to prioritize the dollars. The LAPD must be seen as an investment that pays substantial dividends. Fund what should be, and what council members have said in the past is their number one priority; public safety.