LAPD expansion plan to be announced, could cut costs

LOS ANGELES

The city's top budget chief will release recommendations, costs and advantages of the plan, which would expand the LAPD force by consolidating employees from the general services department under one roof.

Under the plan, the LAPD would take command of 250 general services officers who guard city parks, the zoo and buildings, including city hall. According to Los Angeles Times, the merger would help Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa get closer to his goal of adding 1,000 officers tot he force. The proposal is also expected to help cut costs and plug a $220 million deficit for next year.

A report released by the LAPD in February stated 95 percent of the department budget consists of personnel costs. This fiscal year, the budget is $1.2 billion. That cost is expected to increase by $55 million by next fiscal year.

Critics of the plan are concerned that consolidating general services with the LAPD may not save as much money as expected. Because LAPD employees typically receive greater retirement benefits than general service employees, it would not really cut costs.

The LAPD is also doing its own feasibility study, and any changes would have to be approved by city council. Budget meetings are planned for the end of April to finalize things.

The target date for merging the LAPD and the General Services Police is July 1.

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