LAPD says it needs $67M to complete protest response reforms

The plan also calls for a new $4 million bureau specifically to handle emergency responses

By Josh Cain
Daily News, Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Police Department is setting the price tag for improving its response to massive protests and chaotic city crises at nearly $67 million, officials said Tuesday in a report outlining the potential reforms.

They also say they need dozens more police officers to lead new training regimens for every sworn LAPD employee. Thousands of rank-and-file officers would be trained every two years and the department's command staff would get yearly trainings in crowd control and emergency response.

The plans, presented in Tuesday's Police Commission meeting, come after three different after-action reports castigated LAPD's handling of the George Floyd protests of May and June 2020 as disorganized and often violent.

Police arrested thousands of protesters for infractions like failing to disperse, then held them on buses for hours with no access to bathrooms or water. Riot police firing less-lethal projectiles at crowds of people had little idea of who they were supposed to be targeting.

Chief Michel Moore, who has acknowledged the failures of last year's response, vowed to make changes to the department. Still, he said most officers behaved professionally even as violence flared at some protests, only cracking down when they saw threats to public safety.

Training would take up the bulk of the budgeted reforms: Around $29 million to enact the two-year and yearly plans. For rank-and-file officers, the trainings would include more instruction on how to use less-lethal weapons. For all sworn officers, the training would also mean going over previous settlements with protesters that led to millions of dollars in payouts for similarly violent LAPD responses in the past.

The plan also calls for creating a new $4 million bureau to handle coordinating emergency responses that would install a new deputy chief with a small staff directly reporting to LAPD's chief of police during crises.

Deputy Chief Dominic Choi, who commands LAPD's Office of Support Services, said much of the budget would be taken up by salaries and overtime expenditures for taking some officers out of the field to complete trainings.

The City Council last year passed a $150 million cut to LAPD's budget after repeated calls from civil rights groups and protesters.

A $67 million expenditure could not be passed alone by the Police Commission. The department would have to get that amount approved by the City Council.

Apparently anticipating this, Choi said some of the immediate changes recommended by the reports would come at no cost to the department. Moore said most of the costs would be long-term, with no immediate spending at least in the next three months.

"There isn't money right now, but we'll find the efficiencies and a way to get these recommendations done, if that's what the commission wants to do," Choi said.

Public speakers at the meeting Tuesday said they were incensed at the request for more money, taking specific aim at the $67 million. They said their rallying cry — "defund the police" — meant taking away funds from LAPD's approximate $1.8 billion budget and reinvesting the money in community programs.

Members of Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles, which filed a class action lawsuit against the city over what it says were LAPD's violent tactics during last year's protests, criticized the department for asking for more money as police shootings continued. The Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, a frequent department critic, called the budget request "a money grab," in a statement.

The Police Commission Tuesday did not take action on the report. A more comprehensive report from LAPD is due next week, for which the commission is taking public comments.

(c)2021 the Daily News (Los Angeles)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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