Yesterday, I voted against the City's 2020-2021 budget. I believe the budget's $150 million in cuts to LAPD is unfair to our police officers.
LAPD has changed over the last 30 years and that deserves acknowledgment. LAPD is a model many departments strive to follow on community policing, use of force, de-escalation and implicit bias training, and public accountability. These changes don't just happen. They are prioritized and mandated by leaders who have the courage and fortitude to implement policies and programs to make that change happen.
The department today mirrors the diversity of our city and nearly 2/3 of the department are people of color.
A dramatic reduction in crime has taken place since adding more officers to the department. Our city's homicide rate is the lowest since 1962 and we have had 10 straight years of homicides under 300. Homicides in Los Angeles peaked at 1,092 in 1992.
If we want to reimagine law enforcement and community policing, we don’t have to look very far to see models that are already working. We need to invest more in programs where the police are part of the community.
That is why I have served on the board of LAPD Devonshire PALS, where the focus is on building relationships of trust between the police and the community. PALS offers after school enrichment programs with LAPD officers working directly with the kids as coaches, counselors, and tutors. PALS promotes trust and understanding between young people and police officers.
A total of $90 million of the $150 million in LAPD cuts comes from not paying sworn overtime in the 2020-2021 budget. Officers have a legal right to bank their overtime hours, which the City will payout at a higher rate down the road. Financing a budget on a high-interest credit card limits future funding of core City services.
I want to be clear that the City faces real budgetary challenges. COVID-19 has had a real impact on the City’s revenue. However, blaming LAPD for society’s problems is just bad public policy.
Finally, I want to express my deepest appreciation to the men and women of our police department. Public safety is my top priority, and the men and women of our police department will always have my gratitude and support.