After we echoed La Opinion's report about how the LAPD is seeing 30 percent fewer applications despite the area's high unemployment, the Los Angeles police union weighed in with some of the reasons why, in its opinion.
One of the more interesting points made by the Los Angeles Police Protective League is that starting salaries for incoming officers were cut 20 percent last year, from about $55,000, based on the LAPPL's take, to today's offering of $45,226.
The salary cut was made last fiscal year as the city started to face its historic budget crisis. The union says on its blog that this kind of pay, along with other factors, isn't going to help the city continue to attract the best candidates:
This should be cause for inquiry and concern by the Chief, the Mayor and the City Council. After all, the quality of recruits accepted for Academy training is in direct proportion to the size of the candidate pool. The larger the pool, the higher the caliber of applicants chosen to join the finest police department in the world. With unemployment the highest it's been since the Great Depression and some 300 sworn positions open in the Department, one would think the candidate pool would be at record high levels.
... If this is an early warning sign, Los Angeles needs to heed the warning and take corrective action.
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The union also blames bad press over the city's budget crisis and the increasing threat represented by the state's early release of inmates for discouraging wannabe cops from trying out for the LAPD.
Interestingly, some of the other larger departments in Southern California, including San Diego and Long Beach, have been unable to hire at all, representatives of the law organizations told the Weekly.
The Long Beach Police Department hasn't seen an academy class in nearly two years, so the number of applications is almost a moot issue.
You would think that, with other departments under hiring freezes, and the LAPD looking at 300 openings this month, that even more folks (not less) would be vying to wear the original blue uniform.