Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said Tuesday that the department will continue to hire sworn officers as needed, although its civilian workforce could be affected due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We need to work within our budget, and we will, but make no mistake, in the next 12 months, we’re going to hire 500 law enforcement officers to be members of this organization,” Moore said. “The ‘help wanted’ ad is out, and we’re hopeful people are going to come to us.”
LAPD attrition rates are about 4% per year, and the chief said new hires must be made to keep public safety services at their current levels. The police department has about 10,000 sworn officers.
Mayor Eric Garcetti announced in his State of the City address Sunday that about 15,000 civilian workers throughout the city will need to take 26 days of furlough in the next fiscal year, beginning July 1, in order to help the city cut costs amid the crisis.
Moore told the Board of Police Commissioners he is reviewing the mayor’s proposed budget, which was released on Monday, but said he was appreciative the mayor said cutting public safety positions is not an option.
“I don’t have all the details of it, but … this is a budget that provides for the public safety of Los Angeles by staffing Los Angeles Police Department sworn members at the levels that we had in this fiscal year,” Moore said. “It is a challenging budget in a number of areas in equipment and technology as well as in our civilian workforce.”
The LAPD civilian workforce is currently about 3,000 people. It was at 3,600 before the 2008 recession but has never recovered to its former levels, Moore said.
“If there are other ways for me to identify cost savings that will allow us to have a full workforce, we are desirous of that,” Moore said, “but I believe that I will be able to hire to attrition.”
About 200 to 300 civilian workers may be retiring or changing jobs within the next year, Moore said.
Moore said he is looking at ways to change the department’s operations, such as switching officer shifts to three days on and three days off and working 12-hour shifts, and he said he has assigned detectives to certain patrol areas as well.
A chief information officer was to be added to the department, but Moore said that’s another position not financed in this year’s budget.
“As we move forward, I will look to identify where the pain-points are and identify where we need to adjust strategies,” the chief said.
Moore said 552 officers have been moved to different assignments, the first time in 20 years the LAPD has operated in such a way.
“The vast majority of them work specialized assignments outside of geographic areas. They’ve taken on the tasks of helping us with security at (homeless) shelters that have expanded across the city,” Moore said.
The department has tested 609 employees for coronavirus, and a total of 65 have tested positive. Most are sworn officers, Moore said, adding that 24 have returned to work and 19 of them are sworn officers.
One officer remains hospitalized with the virus and all others who are still affected have remained in isolation, according to the city’s Emergency Operation Center.
The city is in the middle of a hiring freeze for civilian workforce positions, but the mayor said some civilian employees working in essential services may be exempt from furloughs.
Contract renewals have also been frozen, and Moore said he will let a nine-year agreement expire with PredPol, which has provided the LAPD with crime data and analysis.
The chief said crime analysts with the department have similar tools and methods to take on that work for now.
Crime has reduced by 26% overall compared to last year, Moore said, and the most violent crimes have gone down about 10%, which the chief attributed to the Safer at Home orders.
Motor vehicle thefts are up, however, and Moore said that could be because of the reduced services provided by public transportation in response to the coronavirus pandemic.