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Police A Leading Issue In LA Mayoral Race

Rep. Karen Bass, a black woman with shortly cropped hair, stands holding a microphone wearing a blue jacket and glasses.
Congresswoman Karen Bass, a leading contender in the L.A. Mayoral race.
(Leon Bennett
Getty Images)
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The primary election for the next mayor of Los Angeles is just four months away, and as campaigning heats up, public safety and law enforcement are becoming key issues.

Fernando Guerra, a political science professor at Loyola Marymount University, moderated a debate between the top five candidates last week.

“The whole idea that ‘defund the police’ is a question in this campaign is not true,” he said. “None of the major candidates, not a single one of them want to defund even one police officer.”

Current L.A. City Councilmember Joe Buscaino, one of the candidates at last week’s debate, said he would boost the L.A. Police Department’s ranks from 9,500 to 11,000 by 2027 if elected.

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City Attorney Mike Feuer, also a candidate, has said in the past that he will work to restore LAPD staffing to 10,000 officers.

Real estate agent Mel Wilson said at last week's debate that he would add 1,500 officers.

And Congressmember Karen Bass, currently the leading candidate, said she would get another 200 officers out on the streets.

In addition to law enforcement, Guerra said he sees the other top issues of the campaign as homelessness, housing affordability, climate change, and the city's response to COVID-19.

"I asked the question ... are there other issues that you think [are important] and of course, many of them pivoted to housing and housing affordability," he said. "There was a lot of focus on that one."

The primary is coming up on June 7, with a general election in November.

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