Letters to the Editor
... input from forum participants


Does LAPD really need a bigger budget for officers?

Dec. 26th

The Old Shell Game of:
LAPD Needing a Larger Budgeted Amount for More Sworn Officer Positions

When LAPD talks about the crime wave that is hitting the City of Los Angeles (besides requesting the public / community's involvement) the LAPD thinks it could be made more effectively by increasing the budget for a greater allotment of sworn police officers.

Interesting, as LAPD is now a few thousand officers short of the allotment that LAPD is currently budgeted for. But wait ... with budgeting for an even larger number of unfilled positions LAPD could more effectively combat crime?

While it possibly sounds great on the face of it, lets get realistic. If LAPD reaches its current sworn allotment, might that be enough manpower? And if yes, then why give LAPD more when we do not know what its current allotment can do?

The LAPD a few years back stated it costs one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00) to recruit, hire, and train a new police officer. Then, it takes several more months of experience before POST (California's Police Officers Standards and Training) will certify the individual as a peace officer.

So while it sounds good to throw more money into the LAPD budget for a larger allotment of sworn officers to combat the rising crime problem, what with the recruitment, hiring, training, certification (say 18 months), that larger allotment will not show any return in the possibility of lowering crime for at least 18 months!

OK then ... what can be done IMMEDIATELY by LAPD to combat the rise of crime?

1) End the freeze on vacant civilian positions in the LAPD.

The mayor's freeze of October 2001, has created a vast amount of civilian vacancies within the LAPD. As most of the 'paper shuffling routine' is essential to the daily activities of LAPD, with many sworn personnel (not just officers, but also sergeants and lieutenants) being kept out of the field Monday through Friday to keep the paper work flowing.

2) Immediately transfer all sworn personnel in the station doing civilian work back into the field.

A reasonable 'guestimate' of clearing all the sworn officers out of 'Inside' civilian positions and back into the streets, would be a 10% increase in the field staffing of the Monday through Fridays time periods these officers are currently working inside the station.

3) Evaluate all 'Inside Positions' currently filled with sworn personnel, for the capability of replacement with civilian employees.

Just how many of the 'inside' positions that are currently budgeted for sworn police officers to fill, could actually be accomplished with a civilian employee? Remember, it does not take one hundred thousand dollars to recruit, hire, train, and certify a civilian employee! And, civilian employees do not earn the same wage scale, nor are they given a premium benefit package (which costs the City more) as do the sworn officers.

Accordingly, all talks of increasing the LAPD allotment for more sworn personnel should be skeptically viewed as only 'Talking the Talk' (Political Lip Service), and not 'Walking the Walk' (making the changes for the best usage of the sworn officers already with-in the LAPD).

< This writer could go on to give many, many specific instances witnessed of the above, but the intent of the writer is not to further embarrass the LAPD >

Former LAPD Crime Analyst