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Not Enough Officers on the Streets, Chick has One Solution

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Problem: Los Angeles has a shortage of officers for its population and physical size. Budgets are tight, hiring freezes keep the department from hiring new civilian workers, forcing sworn officers to desk work rather than being out on the streets. Bottom line: the city is short 3,000 police officers to where Chief William Bratton would like it to be.

"I have watched three mayors try to find a way to hire and retain increased numbers of police officers. But all of them have overlooked what to me is an obvious way to get more officers on the street. This is a way to immediately get more officers on the street without having to wait to recruit and train them." ~ City Controller Laura Chick A Possible Solution To Help: City Controller Laura Chick's audit, released yesterday, on the department finds that around 400 officers could get on the streets in a relatively short time by putting civilians into positions currently filled by officers. Currently, 560 officers sit in civilian roles, but 150 are assigned the desk duty due to injuries.

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"There's this impression out there that the LAPD gets all it wants. It's not true. We are hiring officers, but we also need civilian support to keep officers out there. We have not been able to hire all the civilians we need because of various budget crunches the city has." ~ LAPD Chief BrattonChallenges: The three-year solution would cost $53-million, but could save $16-million a year in the long run, but the city's current red lined budget makes it harder for such an investment. Also, civilians leave the department because of few advancement and promotional opportunities.

"Over and over again, we hear the sound bite, `Let's get officers out from behind desks and out on our streets.' Yet we continue to impose hiring freezes for civilian positions. Who do we think is performing this essential backup work?" ~ Laura ChickEarlier: Suicidal tendencies at the LAPD

Sources: Daily News, KCBS