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In the recent golden years of Chief William Bratton, the Los Angeles Police Department's budget and hiring was a political third rail, and the City Councilmostly steered clear of budget and officer reductions (and when it didn't, it got its head chewed off by Bratton). But it's a different day, with the city facing a $400,000 million deficit and the police and fire departments taking up more than a third -- 36 percent -- of the city's costs.
While the LAPD in particular is perennially understaffed for a metropolis the size of Los Angeles (New York's force has almost four times the officers), experts say the city can no longer ignore the budget's biggest drain -- public safety -- according to the Downtown News.
" ... The other city departments don't offer the same kind of opportunity [for savings] as public safety," said Gerry Miller, the city's chief legislative analyst, speaking at a Central City Association summit on the city's finances.
Councilman and former police Chief Bernard Parks says cuts to the LAPD's budget are inevitable. "I don't think anybody wants bankruptcy on their resume," said Parks, who is head of the City Council's budget and finance committee. "Sometimes city government works best when it's forced to move."