Mayor's proposed city budget slightly increases spending for LAPD
A spokesperson for the mayor's office said that the decision was in part a response to rising crime
By Dakota Smith, David Zahniser
Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is proposing a slight increase in funding for the city's Police Department for the upcoming budget year, disappointing advocates who have called for the agency's defunding.
Garcetti's proposed $11.2-billion budget allocates $1.76 billion for the LAPD, up from the $1.71 billion the council approved in July. The mayor's plan, which covers the fiscal year starting July 1, would continue to provide a force of about 9,750 sworn police officers.
The number of officers at the department now is lower, however, because of retirements and resignations. The LAPD is expected to have 9,489 officers on June 30.
Garcetti's proposed budget, released Tuesday, comes nearly a year after widespread protests over police brutality and racial injustice. Polls have shown public support for measures that shift some duties away from police. At the same time, the city is grappling with an uptick in murders and shootings.
A Garcetti aide said at a briefing Tuesday morning that the decision to keep the LAPD budget mostly the same was in part a response to rising crime. Hours later, Garcetti said the city needs to continue to keep hiring officers to keep up with retirements.
The mayor also emphasized that he is comparing his proposed LAPD budget with what he budgeted last year for the department: $1.85 billion. The mayor and City Council in July cut $150 million from the department, bringing it down to about $1.71 billion after protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Craig Lally, president of the union representing rank and file police officers, offered a mixed review Tuesday about the mayor's proposed spending on police. Garcetti's proposal, he said, does not address the "significant damage" caused by last year's budget cut.
However, Lally said, the proposal "does make investments in beginning to add back officers to patrol our streets. We are hopeful that City Council is committed to rebuilding the department as well."
Homicides in the city have risen by 27.6% so far this year, compared with the same period in 2020. The number of shooting victims is up nearly 80%, according to LAPD figures that cover the period through April 10.
Albert Corado, an activist who has been calling for the dismantling of the LAPD for nearly three years, said he is "angry but not surprised" by Garcetti's spending plan for the police.
Given the massive protests over police brutality last year, the mayor should have scaled back the number of officers by at least 1,000, said Corado, who is running for a City Council seat representing an area from Echo Park to Hollywood.
Cindy Cleghorn, who sits on the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council, said she wants more police patrols in her neighborhood. Cleghorn said she remembers the years when gang members threatened people in the middle of the day in her neighborhood — and fears those days could return.
"We have good officers here," she said. "They just need more support."
Garcetti unveiled much of his spending plan — which he called a "justice budget" — Monday night at Griffith Observatory. Proposals targeting social justice and inequity include a $24-million guaranteed basic income plan and a nearly $1-billion investment in homelessness.
The mayor's budget also increases spending on gang intervention officers and allocates money for peace and healing centers.
The spending plan, which requires City Council approval, relies heavily on money from the federal $1.35-billion rescue package provided to the city, according to the mayor's office.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.
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