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LAPD to ask landlords to subsidize rent for police recruits

Police hope subsidizing rent will help attract and retain recruits who might otherwise go elsewhere


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By Suzie Ziegler

LOS ANGELES — In an attempt to attract more recruits, the LAPD is turning to Los Angeles landlords for help. A new housing initiative will ask landlords to voluntarily subsidize apartments for LAPD recruits for two years, reported LA Business Journal. Under the plan, recruits would live in subsidized housing during their first two years with the department, including six months of training.

The initiative also aims to create a housing trust to help incoming cops pay rent. To fund that trust, the LAPD is seeking donations from the business community, private donors and foundations, according to the report.

The subsidized housing initiative is the brainchild of Steve Soboroff, an LAPD police commissioner and local businessman.

“I like to take complicated problems and make them simple. And this is one that jumped at me,” Soboroff told LA Business Journal.

Staffing levels continue to plague the LAPD. In the last fiscal year, the department lost 633 officers but only hired 75, the report said. The department is now down 740 officers. Police say there are several reasons why the department is struggling to attract applicants. One of them is public opinion, but Soboroff says the L.A. housing market is a major factor.

“This hurdle, the cost of housing, is a major shock to people,” he said.

LAPD recruits are paid $71,000 a year and might hope to spend 40% of their after-tax income on rent, or $1,500. But Soboroff says L.A. rent is much higher. Soboroff hopes that landlords will agree to subsidize rent above $1,500, which amounts to about $1,000 for each unit.

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Soboroff believes this could be a win-win situation for recruits and landlords.

“What landlord wouldn’t want a cop living in their complex?” he said.

The housing initiative is also a retention strategy. Without the subsidy, young officers and recruits will live outside the city where rents are lower, Police Chief Michel Moore said.

“And then they’re going to be attracted to work in departments outside the city after we spend $100,000 (to train them),” Moore continued.

Soboroff and Moore are still putting the finishing touches on the plan. When all is said and done, they say the subsidized rents and donations would be valued at $33 million for a two-year run, according to the report.