The number of police employed by the Los Angeles Police Department has fallen to less than 9,000 officers. These are numbers that have not been recorded in the city for 30 years and all signs point to it getting worse, since the Academy has only 29 recruits. The majority police union accuses the anti-police rhetoric of the authorities and the precarious economic conditions of causing an exodus of officers, as well as discouraging potential new recruits.
LAPD staffing drops to crisis levels below 9,000 officers. We haven’t seen police staffing this low in 30 years. With academy classes graduating at less than 50% it only stands to get worse.
— Los Angeles Police Protective League (@LAPPL) August 10, 2023
8,967 police officers compared with the 9,500 required
Currently, L.A. has 8,967 police officers. Far short of the 9,300 approved by the city's budget and further short of the 9,500 that Mayor Karen Bass wants to reach. Between September 2020, when it reached 9,878 officers, and June 23 the force has lost almost 1,000 officers.
One thousand fewer officers, hundreds more slated to retire or go to other agencies. The staffing crisis is real, and it is dangerous.
Fewer police officers mean less community policing, less intervention and prevention programs, and more guns on our streets. pic.twitter.com/OA3P3Fatyl
— Los Angeles Police Protective League (@LAPPL) June 26, 2023
Tom Saggau, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Protective League, the majority union in the city, told Fox News that the reasons are not only economic, but that anti-police rhetoric carries a lot of weight in the current police exodus. "Los Angeles costs a lot to afford a home, pay rent, commute times; but also, some of the anti-police rhetoric wears on you." Saggau explained, adding that those who leave the Department "are leaving to work for another agency or simply to leaving the profession completely."
Negotiations with the Mayor
The personnel shortage is exploding at a time when homicides and violent robberies have soared in the city. The agents denounce that the situation prevents them from being able to adequately respond to these challenges and guarantee the safety of citizens because officers are being reassigned to attend to 911 and to patrol the streets.
We have a difficulty because we're pulling officers from specialized gang assignments and high-crime areas and drug operations because you've got to fill patrol to be able to respond to those 911 calls, so this lack of officers has a trickle-down effect, and it's a city-wide impact. So, what happens is, victims of crime and businesses that maybe have been broken into and things of that nature, it just takes much, much longer for them to seek justice.
Bass negotiated with the LAPL for an 11% salary increase and a 3% annual base salary increase, in addition to the implementation of recruitment bonuses to try to increase the number of recruits. The agreement was sealed last week.