Los Angeles – The Los Angeles Police Department has shrunk to its smallest size since the 1990s as officers resign in droves and officer morale sinks to an all-time low.
The number of officers employed fell below 9,000 at the end of July, a figure estimated by the city’s largest police union, the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL). They say the high cost of living and morale issues are making it impossible for the city to maintain its goal of maintaining 9,500 officers.
“They’re leaving to either go work in a different agency or just to leave the profession completely,” Tom Saggau, spokesperson for the LAPPL, told Fox News Digital. “Los Angeles costs a lot to afford a home, pay rent, commute times; but also, some of the anti-police rhetoric wears on you.”
Fox News reported that the incoming academy class has only 29 recruits, LAPD Chief Michel Moore told the Board of Police Commissioners during its July 25 meeting, while crime is on the rise in the city.
“Our effort is to hire 60 every four weeks,” he said.
Even as certain categories of violent crime rises in LA – homicides and robberies, according to the latest departmental statistics – the shrinking police force is requiring officers to be reassigned from other divisions to address 911 calls and run patrols.
L.A. Mayor Karen Bass has been negotiating higher pay and hiring bonuses with the union to incentivize new recruits since April. Bass and the LAPPL reached a tentative agreement last week for officers to receive an 11% salary raise and a 3% increase in base salary annually.
“My No. 1 job is to keep Angelenos safe,” Bass said in an announcement last week. “Like many major cities across America, our police department is enduring a hiring and retention crisis, so we are taking critical action. In April, I proposed a budget to address concerns within the Los Angeles Police Department and to provide investments to hire more police officers, expedite the hiring process and improve retention.”
Since 2020, the LAPD has lost more than 1,000 officers. It’s a trend seen nationwide as big cities struggle to retain officers. On Tuesday, the Minneapolis police chief said the situation is “unsustainable” as the department is losing officers faster than it can hire them.