The Los Angeles Police Department will receive nearly $1 billion in additional funding over the next four years under a deal approved by the city council Tuesday.
In a 12-3 vote, city leaders signed off on an agreement with the Los Angeles Police Protective League that had been championed by Mayor Karen Bass. It calls for year-to-year pay increases, larger bonuses and other items to encourage officer retention and recruitment. Specifically, it includes a near-13% bump in starting pay for new officers and 12% cost of living increases over four years.
“Our police department, just like other major city police departments, is enduring a hiring and retention crisis,” Mayor Karen Bass said in a statement.
“It is a lot of money. And I certainly take a gulp as I say that,” Councilmember Bob Blumenfield acknowledged. “But we have to have a competitive police force, in terms of being able to recruit and retain folks.”
Nearly 1,000 officers have left the department since 2017.
The agreement was opposed by progressive members Eunisses Hernandez, Nithya Raman and Hugo Soto-Martínez. They called the costly package irresponsible given the city’s outstanding need for new streetlights, sidewalk repairs, and other improvements. Opponents also doubt the increased spending will improve retention efforts since cities with higher police salaries are also struggling with vacancies.
“The next time we hit a recession, a spending crisis or a budget shortfall, we will all look back at this vote,” warned Soto-Martinez.
Read more at the Los Angeles Times.