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Attrition shrinks Los Angeles Police Department below below 1990s levels

In response to this ongoing shortage, Bass approved a new contract increasing officer recruit pay by 13% and providing 3% annual wage increases over the next three years.

Published: August 10, 2023 11:00pm

The Los Angeles Police Department’s ranks have dropped below 9,000 officers, well short of the 9,985 it once had in 2009 and the 9,500 goal from Mayor Karen Bass. Interest in joining the police department has collapsed as well, with half of the department’s current cadet class vacant. While overall Los Angeles crime rose 11% in 2022 over the year prior, reported crime rates have remained relatively stable since then, a fact that some attribute to lower reporting of crime.

With an estimated city-wide population of 3.8 million, there is approximately one police officer for every 420 Los Angeles residents. Chicago and New York City, which both have significantly larger police departments than Los Angeles, both have roughly one police officer for every 220 residents, suggesting Los Angeles is severely under-equipped for policing, especially given the fact that Los Angeles is far larger and more spread out than either of the two cities.

In response to this ongoing shortage, Bass approved a new contract increasing officer recruit pay by 13% and providing 3% annual wage increases over the next three years.

“​​My number one job is to keep Angelenos safe,” she said in a statement. “Like many major cities across America, our police department is enduring a hiring and retention crisis so we are taking critical action.”

(The Center Square)Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villaneuva blames much of this shortfall not on funding and pay, increases which he believes will help reduce losses but not reverse them, but on the attitudes of city leaders.

“Since the summer of 2020, many city leaders have spent their time bashing police and telling them they can’t be trusted. With that very hostile work environment you’re not going to attract talent to the organization you’re busy assaulting,” Villaneuva said.

However, Villaneuva believes Bass has made strong progress by providing a more positive approach towards the city-police relationship.

“I think Bass gets the big picture idea…Bass supported when law enforcement took action on their own and held their own accountable. She’s making progress in the area that’s sorely missing,” said Villanueva.

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