LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is proposing a 3% increase in funding for the city’s Police Department for the upcoming budget year, disappointing advocates who have called for the agency’s defunding.
Garcetti’s proposed $11.2-billion budget allocates $1.76 billion for the LAPD, up from the $1.71 billion the council approved in July. The mayor’s plan, which covers the fiscal year starting July 1, would continue to provide a force of about 9,750 sworn police officers, Los Angeles Times reported.
The number of officers at the department now is lower, however, because of retirements and resignations. The LAPD is expected to have 9,489 officers on June 30.
Garcetti’s proposed budget, released Tuesday, comes nearly a year after widespread protests and riots demanding police defunding. However, the city is grappling with an uptick in murders and shootings.
A Garcetti aide said at a briefing Tuesday morning that the decision to keep the LAPD budget mostly the same was in part a response to rising crime. Hours later, Garcetti said the city needs to continue to keep hiring officers to keep up with retirements.
The mayor also emphasized that he is comparing his proposed LAPD budget with what he budgeted last year for the department: $1.85 billion. The mayor and City Council in July cut $150 million from the department, bringing it down to about $1.71 billion after protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Craig Lally, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) representing rank and file police officers, offered a mixed review Tuesday about the mayor’s proposed spending on police. Garcetti’s proposal, he said, does not address the “significant damage” caused by last year’s budget cut, according to the Times.
However, Lally said, the proposal “does make investments in beginning to add back officers to patrol our streets. We are hopeful that City Council is committed to rebuilding the department as well.”
Homicides in the city have risen by 27.6% so far this year, compared with the same period in 2020. The number of shooting victims is up nearly 80%, according to LAPD figures that cover the period through April 10.
Albert Corado, an activist who has been calling for the dismantling of the LAPD for nearly three years, said he is “angry but not surprised” by Garcetti’s spending plan for the police.
Given the massive protests last year, the mayor should have scaled back the number of officers by at least 1,000, said Corado, who is running for a City Council seat representing an area from Echo Park to Hollywood.