Some of the worst news about L.A.'s response to the transfer of thousands of state prisoners and parolees to county jails and local police oversight is that the LAPD says it will need to take 150 officers off the streets to deal with them.
In a geographically vast city with less than 10,000 officers, that's a lot of cops -- probably even more than a single night's shift at your local station.
Chief Charlie Beck made the announcement at a news conference this week:
911 calls will take longer to answer. Reports will take longer to write and our system will suffer because of an unfunded mandate placed on us by the state.
This has been the cry by Beck and the LAPD officers' union for a while now. We hope that doesn't happen: The chief has been on top of a declining local crime rate started by his predecessor, Bill Bratton, despite record unemployment in L.A.
Mayor Villaraigosa, for one, seems to trying to spin the bad news into cash. He wants $15 million from the state to hire 150 officers to keep on the beat.
But state Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer said L.A. already got a $6.2 million grant for policing.
The state prison realignment plan started yesterday under AB 109, a bill to save the state money by transferring responsibility for parolees to counties and localities
a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that forced California to reduce its prison population. Those convicted of low-level nonviolent crimes will go to county lockups instead of state prisons.
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Additionally, about 9,000 parolees are headed to L.A. County's jurisdiction instead of staying under the control of state parole officers. Villaraigosa says 4,200 offenders are coming to the city of L.A. proper.
Welcome, everybody. Now don't kill anybody.
[Added]: In a Los Angeles Times opinion piece Robert Greene refutes the mayor's characterization of the realignment plan, saying that parolees were already headed back to L.A. as part of a regular rotation of inmates heading toward parole: The only difference is instead of being under state supervision locally they'll be under the supervision of local authorities locally. Read it.