We've been reporting about the trickle-down effect the Los Angeles city budget crisis is having on the Los Angeles Police Department, including less officers on the streets and more cops working desk jobs. Now the Los Angeles Times finds that homicides are going unsolved as detectives are forced off cases in order to avoid overtime the city can't pay.
LAPD Southeast Division homicide Det. Sal LaBarbera told the paper 14 killings in the Division "are solvable." "None of them are mysteries," he said. "A few of them would likely already be solved, if I could just let my guys loose to work."
Detectives used to working cases straight through without regard for hours are now being tapped on the shoulder and told to hand over their work as they take days off, the paper reports. The situation is bad for morale.
"It goes against the mentality of homicide detectives," Det. Nate Kouri, who was benched for six weeks as a result of reaching overtime limits, told the Times. "All we want to do is work our cases. That's what we feel we owe to the families of victims -- to work straight through."
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The cuts also affect detectives' wallets: Overtime used to make up about a third of their pay.