The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday, Aug. 23, will consider approving a four-year contract with the union representing Los Angeles Police Department officers, detectives and lieutenants, intended to address issues of retention and recruitment.
The council will decide whether to approve a deal that includes a 6% raise in year one, a 4% raise in year two, a 5% raise in year three and 5% raise in year four, as well as increased health care benefits and patrol incentives. The agreement was approved by Mayor Karen Bass and by a nearly 2-1 majority of Los Angeles Police Protective League members earlier this month.
Prior to Wednesday’s vote, the council’s three-member Personnel, Audits and Hiring Committee will convene for a special session to discuss the proposal and possibly send a recommendation forward.
The labor agreement needs approval by the council before it can be finalized.
“… Our members ratified a four-year contract that is focused on providing raises to retain our current officers and recruit qualified candidates to enter the police academy,” the LAPPL’s Board of Directors said in a statement.
The deal could cost taxpayers approximately $384 million over the next four years, starting with $123 million this fiscal year, according to a report from the city administrative officer.
Starting pay for a new recruit would begin at $86,193, a 12.6% increase from the current starting salary at $74,020. New officers from the Police Academy who remain with the LAPD for at least three years would earn $15,000 in bonuses, while officers who transfer to the department from other agencies and stay for at least three years would earn $20,000 in bonuses.
According to the mayor’s office, LAPD staffing has declined by more than 1,000 officers since the beginning of 2020, and the agency is expected to lose hundreds more in the coming year due to retirements and resignations.
Since 2017, the department has lost more than 430 officers in their first year and a half of duty, and a significant number leave for other agencies before serving for 10 years, according to the mayor’s office.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore told the Police Commission during Tuesday’s meeting that the department’s personnel strength stands at 9,011 officers while the civilian professionals stand at 2,621.
Moore addressed commissioners’ questions about how recruitment issues have affected the department’s ability to meet challenges with crime, such as a spike in organized retail theft, property crimes and assaults with deadly weapons.
He acknowledged that having 1,000 fewer officers has limited the department’s response to calls for service and affected public engagement.
Melina Abdullah, the leader of the Los Angeles Chapter of Black Lives Matter, previously said the deal is “hugely problematic” given the history of how the LAPD polices Black people in Los Angeles. She said the city should be investing in housing and afterschool programs.
Prior to the Police Commission meeting Tuesday morning, BLMLA, alongside Stop the LAPD Spying Coalition and Los Angeles Community Action Network, hosted a news conference condemning “a recent LAPD shooting surge and the complicity of city officials,” according to a statement from the coalition.
The organizations also criticized the proposed labor agreement.
“We want to say this is the greatest law enforcement agency in the nation. No, it is not,” Abdullah told the commissioners during public comment. “It’s the one that has the most killings of citizens.”
She said the department’s issues with recruitment stem from the perception of the public. According to Abdullah, people see “racial bias, misogyny within your own department, alcohol abuse, careless and harmful handling of equipment, especially guns, and not being truthful.”
“These are things that affect people’s perception of what LAPD is, and it does affect the ability to recruit. Young people don’t want to be violence workers,” she said.
Moore told commissioners that LAPD officers have been involved in 19 shootings so far this year, while last year the department reported 25 officer-involved shootings.
The number of fatal officer-involved shootings stands at 10, compared to 11 in 2022, he added.
Moore reported a 7.9% reduction in violent crime. Homicide rates continue to improve with a 24% reduction, or 63 fewer homicides than last year at this time, he added.
Property crime is up by 1%, and personal thefts rose by 20%, which are accounted for by retailers such as Target, Nordstrom and Warehouse Shoe stores, according to Moore.
“It is critically important that tomorrow before the City Council is a multi-year contract proposal for our rank-and-file and it is my hope that it enjoys the council’s support because I believe it is a significant step that will help us attract both new recruits as well as retain a very professional workforce,” Moore said.