Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck warned Thursday that unless Los Angeles implements an additional half-cent sales tax on next year’s March 5th ballot, there could be 500 less officers in the city; 300 anticipated future hires would not be added and 200 officers currently on staff would be let go.
Beck said that he is already short of 911 operators, custody officers, and mechanics to repair the police cars.
The Los Angeles Police Department, which has been severely understaffed for years, is now in danger of losing even more of its officers. The LAPD has half the number of police officers in comparison to New York City when looking at population; the LAPD has an officer-to-citizen ratio of 1:400, whereas New York City has a ratio of 1:200.
Joining City Council member Herb Wesson, the sponsor of the tax hike, Beck said:
That’s 500 cops. And that is a huge impact. I hope that that isn’t what happens. And I don’t want to panic my workforce. But I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think it was a severe threat on public safety in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles citizens, as well as the rest of Californians, have already been battered by the approval of Proposition 30, which raised California’s sales tax by one-fourth of a cent on every dollar spent. City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana, the city’s top budget official, will present his analysis of the impact of the further half-cent raise Friday, November 9th. Then, on Tuesday of next week, the Los Angeles City Council will vote on whether to place the issue on the March 5th ballot.
Santana and Wesson have stated that the city has cut thousands of workers already as well as rolled back pension benefits for new employees.
Beck, saying he trusts Wesson and Santana, argued, “These are two people that I trust and that I deal with all the time. And when they tell me things are bad, I know they’re bad. This is not crying wolf as people have accused the city in other years, other administrations.”