LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Los Angeles Police Department's personnel size has been shrinking in recent years and is now at its smallest level in six years.
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said on Thursday the city is working to put more officers on the streets.
Marking her first year in office, Bass told a recruiting class at the LAPD's academy, "we're well on our way to restoring the department."
As of Tuesday, the LAPD had about 13,000 total employees, its lowest level since 2017. The city controller says 9,600 of them are police officers, also the lowest since 2017. Controller data in September showed nearly one in five positions within the LAPD were vacant.
"With a diminished workforce, with facilities and equipment that's outdated, the mayor and her actions have taken on aggressively each of these challenges," said LAPD Chief Michel Moore. "Her actions in rebuilding our staffing, both our sworn and our civilian professional staff, as well as improving our working conditions. The conditions of our vehicles. The conditions of our facilities. Our technology. All are making a marked difference in a path forward for a safer Los Angeles."
"In late August, LAPD reported that over 1,000 people applied to the department and this is the largest number of applications in a single month since September of 2020," Bass said.
Violent crime overall is down slightly over the last year compared to 2022, but up slightly from pre-pandemic levels. Homicides are down about 15%, but still higher than pre-pandemic averages. The mayor believes the newly created Office of Community Safety has played a role with $50 million going toward violence prevention and making sure people don't reoffend.
"We have really cut back resources to health and human services programs," Bass said. "Then when there are problems in the community, we expect the police department to take care of all of society's ills and that is just not what should happen. LAPD should not be responsible for substance abuse. For mental health. For homelessness."
A new class of LAPD recruits graduates each month after completing six months of training and the department tells Eyewitness News they're seeing an upward trend in the size of the classes.