LOS ANGELES, CA – Poor decisions in the name of social justice have come back to haunt the city of Los Angeles as they face a massive overtime bill after cutting the police budget by $150 million last year.
L.A. cut police budget, but overtime costs continue to mount – Los Angeles Times https://t.co/2gdiCPQ5s5
— LAXPD UNION (LAAPOA) (@AirportPoliceLA) August 29, 2021
Ignoring warnings that police would still have to work overtime, the City Council voted last year to cut the police budget in response to protests and riots in the summer following the May 2020 death of George Floyd at the hands of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
However, unlike most professions, police cannot simply refuse to work when needed. This has led to more than 680,000 unpaid overtime hours for the budget year ending June 30.
Officers will need to be compensated for that time, totaling approximately $47.3 million.
Dustin DeRollo, spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Protective League, told the Los Angeles Times that the officers may not be paid for years into the future and that those wages would have to be paid out at the officer’s current most recent salary:
“There’s an increased cost to taxpayers, because they’ll be paying out those overtime hours at a higher rate later on.”
The overtime due for 2020 is significant, but the problem is expanded because the city has done this several times in the past.
In a practice known as “overtime banking,” officers work overtime and do not get paid immediately. These overtime amounts accumulate as a future debt to the city.
During the 2018-2019 fiscal year, LA banked $13.4 million in officer overtime. The following year, the city had to contend with the COVID-19 pandemic and weeks of protests over Floyd’s killing. The overtime banked for that period grew to $28 million.
Combined with last fiscal years banked time, the city now faces a debt to officers of $154 million.
The substantial debt could hurt the city’s future ability to borrow money.
The LAPD has a long history of "overtime banking" –assigning officers to work hours now, then get paid much later. But the practice exploded during COVID-19 https://t.co/wGSZTnI4vt pic.twitter.com/OYhDhbuWVo
— David Zahniser 🦅 (@DavidZahniser) August 28, 2021
In addition to the cost to the city, the hidden cost is to the individual officers.
Each of those $154 million is money officers risk their lives to earn and have not been paid. As L.A. struggles to recruit new officers and retain those that have not left for more secure and appreciative positions in other jurisdictions, officers not getting paid what is owed to them will only hurt the situation.
The City Council voted June 30, 2020, to cut the police budget by a 12-2 vote, resulting in major cuts to overtime pay and reduced police staff to the lowest level since 2008.
City analysts warned the council that at least part of the overtime cut would end up being worked anyway, but those warnings went unheeded.
The only opposing votes came from Councilman John Lee, a former Republican, and Joe Buscaino, a Democrat and former police officer. Democrats overwhelmingly supported the budget cuts.
As damaging as the budget cuts have been to the police department and city, Black Lives Matter wanted more.
When the cuts were announced, Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles said the budget cut was “literally pocket change.”
In Los Angeles, the curfew due to protests following George Floyd's death is the harshest since the riots in 1992 following the acquittal of the officer who beat Rodney King. In New York City, has enacted the strictest curfew since the race riots of 1943. https://t.co/SYGPkPyoY5
— CNN (@CNN) June 2, 2020
Black Lives Matter activist Rebecca Kessler said at the time:
“It’s a slap in the face. You need to defund the police, take way more money, put way more money into these programs.”
Violent crime has spiraled out of control in Los Angeles over the last year, and July recorded the highest number of homicides in over a decade. 46 homicides occurred in the city in July, and LAPD statistics show the crime surge is not slowing.
The period from Jan. 1-June 30 was already the deadliest first six months of the year since at least 2010 when the LAPD began making its data public. The 46 deaths in July is a 21% jump from the 38 recorded last month.
Deadly July 4th weekend in L.A. shows 25% surge in homicides – Los Angeles Times https://t.co/MAjWyAxlKH
— Ghost Gun News (@GhostGunNews) July 7, 2021
Police Chief Michel Moore said during a weekly civilian Los Angeles Police Commission meeting in August:
“Our challenge continues to be shooting violence, homicides, persons experiencing homelessness, as well as those involved in street violence.
“This last week was also the beginning of our violent crime initiative to strengthen our strategies, our existing strategies in both community engagement and outreach, as well as in added patrols for the apprehension of violent offenders.”
He did not say how the city was going to pay for the initiative under the limited budget.
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LAPD Chief addresses alarming violent crime surge in onset of 2021 – skyrocketing shootings and murders
January 19, 2021
LOS ANGELES, CA – While many had hoped that 2021 would bring about a new year, leaving behind the troubles and turmoil associated with the year prior – it appears as though violence is not quelling within South Los Angeles.
LAPD says most recent crime stats are “shocking.”https://t.co/LpkgcH575L
— PhilosophyOfCrime (@CrimePhilosophy) January 18, 2021
With not even an entire three weeks having passed in 2021, South Los Angeles has seen an alarming upward trend with regard to violent crime.
Statistics relative to homicides within the city or on the rise, shooting victims are alarmingly high when compared to 2020, and also shooting incidents in general have been on the rise.
According to data shared by the Los Angeles Police Department’s official Twitter account, 16 days into 2021 and homicides within South Los Angeles are up 150% when compared to the same timeframe in 2020.
So far this year, 10 people have been killed within that portion of the city – versus 4 at the same time the prior year.
Victims Shot in South LA are up 742% compared to last year.
This tragic continuation of gun violence, primarily concentrated in our most disadvantaged neighborhoods, must stop.
Gang Interventionists are trying…but we must all work together to stop the violence—to save lives. pic.twitter.com/22hOj4wYiU
— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) January 18, 2021
When looking at the increase in shooting incidents, South Los Angeles has seen what they coined as a “staggering” 234% increase in those incidents with regard to the same timeframe in 2020.
By the numbers, there have been 97 total shooting incidents in South Los Angeles, as opposed to the 29 that occurred during the same period in just last year.
When it relates to the victims impacted by these very incidents, victim shot in South Los Angeles are up 742% for 2021 when bouncing those numbers against the prior year.
Only 16 days into 2021, and 130 firearms have been recovered in South LA, with 105 people arrested for possession of firearms & related crimes.
LAPD officers continue to work 24/7, upholding our motto, “to protect and to serve”. pic.twitter.com/DNXAlEJBFF
— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) January 18, 2021
To put the numbers into perspective, so far in 2021 they were 59 victims shot in South Los Angeles versus 7 that were shot in 2020 during that 16-day period at the onset of the year.
Overall, 2021 isn’t all that it was cracked up to be when it was ushered in with rhetorical glee that things would somehow magically change after purchasing a new calendar.
LAPD Chief Michael Moore addressed these optics and violence when taking the Twitter on January 16th writing the following:
“Continued surge gun violence South LA first 2 weeks of the year. 59 shooting victims compared to 7 last year. Officers have made 105 arrests of individuals with firearms. 130 firearms taken from street. Gang intervention trying, but we need our community and elected officials.”
Continued surge gun violence South LA first 2 weeks of the year. 59 shooting victims compared to 7 last year. Officers have made 105 arrests of individuals with firearms. 130 firearms taken from street. Gang intervention trying, but we need our community and elected officials.
— Chief Michel Moore (@LAPDChiefMoore) January 16, 2021
Thus far, this newly released data is presenting a worrying opening to the new year with respect to how 2020 was such a troubling year for violent crime within the entire city of Los Angeles.
With respect to how crime patterns were “radically shifted”, as quoted within the Los Angeles Times, following state issued shut down orders due to the pandemic, there’s also a myriad of contributing factors like the cutting of the LAPD budget that transpired in July of 2020.
Back in November of 2020, the city of Los Angeles had managed to surpass a record number of homicides not seen in over a decade when city officials had reported on its 300th homicide that year by late November.
While police officials in the city are noting that they are doing their best to combat these sorts of violent crimes, while also asking for community and elected officials to chip in in those efforts to keep the streets safe, it is really unclear as to what it will effectively require to address the rising violence within Los Angeles.
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