During a week in which Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the City Council pledged to keep movie and television productions from fleeing L.A. for cheaper locales, the Los Angeles Police Department announced it was transferring “several” employees from a film-permit unit in order to fill budget-needy gaps elsewhere in the department.

In a letter to Film L.A. (PDF), the nonprofit film-permit organization, Capt. Tom McDonald of the LAPD's Emergency Operations Division stated that the transfers from the LAPD's film friendly Contract Services Section were part of a department-wide effort to put “several hundred employees back to patrol operations from other assignments like CSS.”

CSS was created in 2009 and held responsibility “for the review and approval of filming

permits on behalf of the Los Angeles Police Department,” according to Film L.A.

The LAPD has been shifting officers from specialized units, including its vaunted Metropolitan Division, to regular street patrol duty in order to deal with budget cuts from City Hall, which is facing a $212 million deficit.

On Tuesday Villaraigosa announced the installation of a pair of city “utility power nodes” at a popular downtown filming location — the John Ferraro Building — set up specifically to accommodate location shoots there. More such nodes downtown were on the way, the mayor said.

“The entertainment industry is the bedrock of Los Angeles,” he stated, “and we are taking the necessary steps to keep our signature industry here where it belongs.”

On the same day the City Council's Jobs and Business Development Committee recommended that no-fee shoots at city-owned building be allowed to continue for four more years. New York recently raised such fees.

LA Weekly