LA to give bonuses to officers with college degrees
New 'education incentives' will pay officers with colleges degrees between $190 and $290 every two weeks
David Zahniser and Dakota Smith
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Police Department is set to award officers who have college degrees nearly $41 million in bonuses in the coming budget year.
Mayor Eric Garcetti and the City Council signed off on the new LAPD "education incentives" last summer, paving the way for officers with associates' degrees to receive an extra $190 every two weeks and those with bachelors' degrees an extra $290.
The education bonuses went into effect last month, just as projected tax revenues from hotels, restaurants and retail stores plummeted as a result of the coronavirus shutdowns.
In addition to those payouts, LAPD officers are on track to receive 4.8% in pay raises in the fiscal year that starts July 1. The raises and bonuses are part of the city's newest contract with the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union that represents rank-and-file officers.
Law enforcement experts say education bonuses can help police departments attract officers who are familiar with legal statutes, trained in technology or skilled at defusing tense situations. Research has shown that officers who earn undergraduate and graduate degrees generally do better in "dealing with complex and challenging circumstances," said Police Chief Michel Moore.
"Their decision-making process and their ability to untangle complex issues is informed and is improved by their exposure to higher education," he said.
More than 6,300 officers, or nearly two-thirds of the rank-and-file, will be eligible for the education bonuses, according to the city's budget analysts. Craig Lally, president of the Police Protective League, said the bonuses will ensure that the city benefits from having "a more qualified, highly educated police department."
"The nature of police work has evolved, and the expectations and demands placed upon police officers have increased," he said. "In addition to being police officers, we are also now therapists, drug treatment counselors, social workers, and EMTs among many other things."