LA leaders approve $150 million in cuts to the LAPD, shrinking police force to under 10,000

 In blog, Crime News: Los Angeles Daily News

LA leaders approve $150 million in cuts to the LAPD, shrinking police force to under 10,000

by Elizabeth Chou

The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday, July 1, approved $150 million in cuts to the police department budget that would effectively shrink the force of 10,000 sworn officers to around 9,700.

Although challenged by some as a goal for the police department, the 10,000 figure has been looked to as the standard for sworn-officer hiring levels. The last time the department had a police force of around 9,700 sworn officers was more than a decade ago, department officials said.

Councilman Curren Price said Tuesday that the budget changes include his motion to put $100 million of the money cut from the LAPD into “critical services benefiting the disenfranchised in our city.” Some funds are also earmarked for a summer youth employment program.

The scaling back of the $1.9 billion LAPD budget was part of a package of budget modifications approved 12-2 by the council for the fiscal year beginning July 1, and it comes amid activists’ calls to defund the police budget.

Mayor Eric Garcetti’s $10.5 billion spending plan, which he released in April, was subsequently adopted at the beginning of June when the council took no action on it.

That initial budget included a plan to hire hundreds of officers and other employees to replace hundreds of sworn employees expected to leave the LAPD over the next year. The council’s vote Wednesday, however, reduces that hiring by about half.

Council members John Lee and Joe Buscaino voted against the changes. There was no discussion of the issue prior to Wednesday’s vote. There were no amendments proposed to challenge the LAPD budget cuts on Tuesday, when they were also taken up briefly.

During Tuesday’s council meeting, Lee praised reforms at the LAPD over the past 30 years, saying officer ranks became more diverse, and many have undergone training on implicit bias, de-escalation, and other areas.

“I’m not saying that LAPD is a perfect organization … but it has been a model of reform,” he said.

Angelenos, some of whom have participated in protests against police brutality, have called by the hundreds into recent council meetings calling for deep cuts to policing and law enforcement programs. Many touted the People’s Budget LA, which calls for slashing the police department by 90% and using those funds on to reinvest in Black communities and other groups faced with racial inequities.

Boosters of the department, however — including officers and their leadership team — have warned against cuts that they say could imperil the safety of the community.

But the LAPD’s coffers face challenges that go beyond the defunding calls by activists. Further cuts to city services are anticipated during the new fiscal year, with finance office estimates projecting revenues will be short by an additional $45 million to $409 million beyond the mayor’s plan.

The council on Tuesday also approved a buyout package for potentially thousands of city workers in an attempt to stave off planned city employee furloughs that would amount to a 10% pay cut for around 15,000 civilian city workers.

City leaders have stated they plan to treat this year’s budget as a placeholder, and are expected to monitor revenue levels throughout the year, returning to it as needed to make adjustments.

Cuts to other law enforcement programs throughout LA County, buoyed by activists riding the wave of protests spurred by the Memorial Day death of George Floyd, a Black man who died while being arrested by a white police officer in Minnesota, are also being considered. Late Tuesday evening, the Los Angeles Unified School District board approved shifting $25 million from the school police budget toward African American student achievement, gang-reduction programs and investments in counselors and safety aids.

All credit goes to Elizabeth Chou Originally published on

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