Ten years ago, the Los Angeles Police Department celebrated a historic hiring milestone, announcing the city had reached a target sought by at least two mayors and multiple police chiefs: 10,000 officers.
Now, within a three-year span, those gains have been erased. Police Chief Michel Moore reported last week that sworn staffing had fallen to 9,103, down nearly 1,000 from 2019, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Mayor Karen Bass is looking to confront the issue by ramping up hiring and lifting barriers to recruitment. Her proposed budget, which will be released Tuesday, will call for the city to restore the department to 9,500 officers — an extremely tall order, given the ongoing officer exodus.
In an interview, Bass said if the city fails to fix its recruitment and retention problems, the LAPD could easily fall below 9,000 officers in the coming months.
The call to rebuild the LAPD will almost certainly generate pushback from defund and abolish the police activists.
Bass will send her budget proposal to a council that is ideologically further left, and more skeptical of police, than it was when she launched her campaign in 2021. Two of the council’s newest members, Hugo Soto-Martinez and Eunisses Hernandez, argued against police hiring during their campaigns.
A third, Councilmember Nithya Raman, ran in 2020 on a platform that called for transforming the LAPD into a “much smaller, specialized armed force.”