27 new officers graduate from LAPD academy, giving hope to addressing department's staffing issues

LAPD is currently underemployed by 176 officers, Chief Michel Moore said, citing 9,284 sworn officers on staff as of Aug. 13.

Irene Cruz Image
Saturday, August 27, 2022
27 new officers graduate from LAPD academy as need for cops grows
As the Los Angeles Police Department reports not meeting its staffing goals, a graduation ceremony on Friday is giving the department some hope.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- As the Los Angeles Police Department reports not meeting its staffing goals, a graduation ceremony on Friday is giving the department some hope.

A total of 27 new officers were honored after graduating from the police academy.

The graduating officers - 22 men and 5 woman - all completed 912 hours of training over the course of 24 weeks.

Earlier this week, Chief Michel Moore alerted the Board of Police Commissioners of the department's staffing issues.

"This has been a profession that has taken a turn for the worst in sense of its desirability," said Moore during Friday's ceremony. "People are looking at, 'Is this a profession that I can enjoy? That I can make a meaningful difference, but if I make a mistake or if I make an error, am I going to be crucified for it?'"

LAPD is currently underemployed by 176 officers, Moore said, citing 9,284 sworn officers on staff as of Aug. 13, while the department is authorized to have 9,460.

Moore said the LAPD is also authorized by the City Council to hire as many as 780 new sworn personnel, factoring in expected attrition from officers retiring.

"Policing is pulling from an increasingly smaller pool of interested applicants for a variety of reasons, and so we have to be better at being upfront and being a world class agency," Moore said.

Moore emphasized there is a high threshold for bringing in a new officer, noting that the department hires around just 5% of all applicants. He said last year, the department welcomed 576 new graduates. This year so far? Less than 100.

Meanwhile, the department's response time to emergency calls remains under the goal of seven minutes -- but response times for urgent and routine calls have "lengthened significantly" as a result of the staffing shortage, according to Moore.

Commissioners requested a report from the LAPD with more information about the impact of lack of personnel on response time.

Last week, at a meeting of the City Council's Public Safety Committee, an LAPD representative said the department is facing a "declining amount" of applicants for both civilian and sworn positions.

Only 19 people attended a recent training session to become public safety representatives, who typically perform dispatcher duties, according to the representative. Typically, the department would get "hundreds" of applicants, he said.

The department anticipates seeing an increase in vacant dispatcher positions this year, according to the representative. Currently there are 83 vacancies.

The committee directed the LAPD to report back on what structural changes would be necessary to relieve sworn personnel from having to fulfill civilian duties.

Meanwhile, the department remains hopeful about more recruits and emphasizes their incentives when joining the force, including housing incentives, financial rewards for recruiters, and a hiring bonus for all new officers, which is between $15,000 and $20,000.

"As agencies across America are competing for this finite group of highly qualified individuals, that we remain competitive. There's no badge like it anywhere in the world," said Moore.

Councilman Joe Buscaino, a former LAPD officer who joined the force in 1997, said last week that hearing the statistics about the dispatchers "pains" him.

"But it also doesn't surprise me," Buscaino said. "Today, the law enforcement community both sworn and civilian has been demoralized. They've been disrespected by leaders at all levels of government, by posts on social media, by ongoing attacks on our civilian and sworn personnel within the law enforcement community."

Buscaino said that, when he joined the LAPD, they were "hiring like crazy."

"People were excited to join the LAPD on both sides -- the civilian and sworn side," Buscaino said.

City News Service, Inc. contributed to this report.