Despite a recommendation from its budget committee that it freeze police hiring, the City Council on Wendesday voted to continue a schedule that includes bringing on 90 recruits for the Los Angeles Police Department.
This happened as a solution to the city's $222 million budget deficit, not counting an additional $485 million in red ink expected to hit in July, has remained elusive. The four-member budget committee had the deficit in mind when it recommended that no more cops be hired.
“If you keep hiring police officers, you have to lay off other folks,” Councilman Bernard Parks, a former LAPD chief, said earlier this week. “You can't have them both. So if the council majority decides to keep hiring, the issue that's going to confront them is where is the money going to come from?”
The department has been hurting though, with detectives complaining that cuts in overtime mean they have to hand off cases as they're forced to take time off. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck also stated that less officers are on the streets as a result of budget cuts. And just this week the department reported that homicides are up 2.5 percent.
With public safety — police and fire — taking up 80 percent or more of L.A.'s budget, they will be likely to see the biggest cuts. But so far the City Council isn't facing the reality that's spelled out in black and white on City Hall's spread sheet.