L.A. mayor proposes hiring 780 more police, 260 firefighters

An aggressive LAPD hiring plan aims to combat attrition as the agency expects to lose 500 officers


By Elizabeth Chou
Los Angeles Daily News

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is proposing an $11.8 billion budget for the upcoming fiscal year that includes $10.5 million for a climate equity program, an 8.5% increase for LAPD’s operations, and funding to hire more firefighters and sanitation workers.

He told reporters at a City Hall press conference, “We’ve made an incredibly strong economic recovery. This is good news. Better than good. It’s great news. Our finances are in a very different place than just two years ago when we faced down the toughest economic moment of our lives.”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (Keith Birmingham)

But Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin gave a more sobering forecast, saying that “rising employment costs, coupled with sky-high inflation, could very well put the city in a revenue crunch.” He counseled that “L.A. officials need to focus on maintaining core services that residents depend on, and support programs with proven records of success.”

The city is estimating $7.4 billion in revenue, 6.6% more than last year. The mayor is calling for aggressive hiring at LAPD, which is expected to lose more than 500 officers through attrition. His plan allows for training and hiring 780 officers, to increase LAPD’s ranks from just under 9,500 to more than 9,700 police officers.

Garcetti is also calling for $7.3 million to carry out recommendations from an after-action report that looked at the city’s response to the 2020 racial justice protests. The city’s handling of the protests led to a lawsuit from demonstrators who experienced brutal treatment by law enforcement.

His total LAPD budget is set at $3.2 billion, which includes pensions, healthcare and other costs.

Facing its own controversies, the Los Angeles Fire Department also got attention in Garcetti’s budget plan, which would fund the training and hiring of 260 firefighters. In response to persistent complaints of harassment in LAFD he is also proposing a bureau that would work to improve the department’s workplace environment, diversity and inclusion.

[RELATED: Roundtable: Predicting the future of police recruitment and retention]

The mayor’s proposed firefighter hiring plan would cost $19.25 million, while diversity and inclusion measures would get $647,000.

Several million dollars will also be put toward programs aimed at creating an alternative to traditional policing, including:

  • $37.5 million to expand the GRYD (Gang Reduction and Youth Development), a city gang intervention program to additional neighborhoods.
  • $8 million for CIRCLE, a program the city is partnering with the nonprofit Urban Alchemy on to provide emergency response to non-violent situations involving the unhoused.
  • $2 million to expand a program that responds to 911 calls for mental health emergencies with mental health workers, rather than police officers.
  • The budget plan also calls for hiring 17 more maintenance workers and 26 additional sanitation workers to pick up bulky items and illegally dumped trash.

Garcetti said the mental health emergency program would handle 9,000 crisis calls, noting, “We give people (who are) suffering the help that they need with this program, taking them to either treatment right there on the street, or programs, instead of hospitals with no mental health programs, where they only get returned to the street.”

Addressing the widespread problems involving homeless encampments, his proposed budget would fund 23 teams known as CARE+, which would handle comprehensive clean-up operations at encampments, as well as five CARE teams to do lighter cleaning.

About $1.16 billion would also be spent to address homelessness directly, including programs to convert motels into long-term shelters through the Project Homekey program. A smaller budget would go to prevention and homeownership programs.

Dealing with climate change, the budget includes $10.5 million to establish a two-phase $21 million “climate equity fund,” the result of a new franchise agreement in which SoCalGas will pay for residents’ home air purifiers and heat mitigation improvements. The multi-million dollar deal will also fund a jobs program and monitoring of oil drilling sites.

Garcetti portrayed his proposals as “setting the stage for the next mayor. I was lucky enough to inherit this office from great mayors who came before and who thought through handing that baton in a very thoughtful way. We’re trying to do the same thing here so that our work won’t miss a beat.”

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