L.A. Cops Doing Civilian Work As Budget Cuts Shrink Force

More and more L.A. cops are being shifted to desk jobs as budget cuts have slashed Los Angeles Police Department's civilian ranks by nearly 1,000, according to the union representing Los Angeles police. It will be a long, hot summer for crime fighting in L.A. as a result of the shuffling and cuts in overtime that are reducing the number of badges on the streets, the union argues.

The Los Angeles Police Protective League stated Thursday that the department's civilian force will have been reduced by 1,000 -- from 3,958 to less than 2,900 -- at the end of the fiscal year June 30 as a result of position eliminations and retirement. The job loses include critical crime-fighting functions -- "taking 9-1-1 calls, warrant processing, data entry for suspect booking, grant writing and crime statistics analysis" -- being shifted to officers who would otherwise be on the street, according to the LAPPL.

"For every 100 officers who are pulled from field work to backfill vacant civilian positions, it is the equivalent of removing about 30 police cars citywide," LAPPL president Paul M. Weber said. "And that has a dramatic impact on our ability to respond to calls for service and keep crime down. On a daily basis we are getting reports from our officers that they are spending increasing amounts of time in the station performing administrative tasks, rather than fighting crime on the streets. The back-filling of civilian duties by sworn officers threatens to reverse the LAPD's historic crime reductions in recent years."

Reductions in officers' overtime add to the civilian job cuts to create "significantly reduced police deployments throughout the city that threaten to create a public safety crisis this summer," the union argues in a statement.

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