In July, as the Covid-19 pandemic began to impact the City’s budget outlook, the L.A. City Council voted 12-2 to reduce the police department budget by $150 million.
The city council aims to reduce the LAPD workforce to 9,757 officers by next summer (a level of staffing not seen in the city since 2008).
On November 7, an L.A. Times story (“LAPD to Dramatically Downsize Special Units, Focus on Patrol as Budget Cut Shrinks Force”) reported that the LAPD will downsize its specialized units and stop responding in person to minor traffic collisions.
“Although specific figures weren’t available Friday, the reshuffling will reduce the size of the Metropolitan Division, as well as cut the air support, robbery and homicide and gang and narcotics divisions,” the Times reported. “The department also will reduce desk hours at its stations, cut special deployments in popular areas such as Venice and Hollywood, and stop staffing teams that cover homelessness issues.
“A total of 234 officers will move back into patrol. Station desks will be manned only during weekday hours. Victims of misdemeanor hit-and-run crashes and collisions with minor injuries will be advised to file a report online.”
Currently, Pacific Palisades has a basic car (8A1) and a Senior Lead Officer, Michael Moore. Brentwood also has a basic car (8A13). In the past, if the one car in our area had to take someone to the station to book them, this curtailed police presence in the Palisades.
When the homeless started camping in the hillsides of Pacific Palisades in the very high fire severity zone, and brushfires broke out, it was determined that the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness needed assistance in canvassing the parkland. The Beach Detail was introduced, and two additional officers were assigned to help social workers locate and help transients.
Circling the News contacted West Los Angeles Area Commanding Officer Captain Jonathan Tom to see if the budget cuts will take away the one police car dedicated to this community and if the vitally important Beach Patrol will also disappear.
On November 9, Captain Tom responded that the sole patrol car will continue to run 24/7 and “the beach patrol will continue as long as I have the officers to fill our basic patrol minimums. It’s important, so I will do my best to keep it.”
(Editor’s note: Last month, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to have a chief administrator develop an unarmed team to respond to nonviolent 911 calls. The city council will now request a proposal for a nonprofit partner to help implement a pilot version of the unarmed crisis response team. It will also create a new classification of city employees who will respond to the nonviolent 911 calls. No date was given for when the pilot program will be put in place.)