• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

LAPD investigations limited by budget cuts

April 12, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Word that the L.A. city budget crisis is now having a major impact on the Los Angeles Police Department. Homicide detectives are being forced to take days off and their overtime hours have been slashed, hurting their ability to solve murder cases. It's not just homicide detectives, it's also SWAT, K-9 and other special units affected by the lack of any overtime. Instead of overtime, police officers are forced to take time off, and that's affecting the morale as well as the number of police officers on the street. According to LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, it will soon affect operations at local police stations.

Homicide investigators are used to working long hours, but because of the budget crisis there is no more overtime for them or for other police officers. No overtime pay means homicide detectives can't investigate killings for days or weeks.

Chief Beck said last month giving officers forced time off instead of overtime cost the department the equivalent of 292 officers on the street.

"But remember: This is a cascading problem. By the end of summer, we will be at about 600, by my calculation, reduced workforce, due to compensatory overtime," said Beck.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is committed to replacing officers lost to things like retirement. It's called "hiring to attrition."

"Well, I'd like to restore the overtime, but the first priority will be to maintain hiring at attrition," said Villaraigosa. "It will only cost $7 million next year, according to Chief Beck."

Beck says the no-overtime-pay rules will mean night desks that shut down at police stations, and property damage reports not taken. Things like auto break-ins and thefts not investigated.

It might be better if the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power gave the city the more than $73 million it once promised, but now won't turn over.

L.A. City Councilman Ed Reyes says the man who appoints the DWP commissioners -- the mayor -- shares the blame.

"Without a successful executive, you're not going to have a successful city," said Reyes. "We have to support him, but we have to have some reciprocation from him as well."

Former DWP President Nick Patsaouras has filed a lawsuit against the utility.

"I know they have the money, and it has become a 'chicken' game," said Patsaouras. "And it's very simple: Somebody has to raise their voice, you know?"

In a week, we'll hear the mayor's voice again when he gives his State of the City speech and when he releases the budget that will affect everyone from police to all the city services.


Load Comments