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Picking the wrong target

By LAPPL Board of Directors on 10/01/2014 @ 03:45 PM

“Watch out,” Mayor Garcetti said during a downtown news conference on Monday. “We’re going to make sure that we’re coming after you.”


The mayor was reacting to an Los Angeles Times story reporting that the city spent $328 million on salaries, medical bills and other expenses between 2009 and 2013 for police and firefighters on leave due to injuries. Using one of the Times’ favorite tactics of generalizing, the story sought to portray an abuse epidemic of the worker’s compensation system. Nothing could be further from reality.

It’s tough enough to be a public safety officer forced off duty with an injury without the mayor threatening to come after you as if you were somehow abusing the system. In a YouTube video after the LAPPL declared an impasse in contract talks, the mayor professed to respect LAPD officers. Mere weeks later, telling us to watch out and that he’s coming after us is a strange way to show it.

Is it too much to ask the mayor to get his facts straight before he speaks in front of the news cameras?

The fact is public safety officers injured on duty are unable to get prompt and efficient medical treatment, causing them to remain off duty far longer than they should or want to. Compounding the problem is the stress caused by a system that doesn’t make fixing it a priority. The broken worker’s compensation system in California, as administered in the City of Los Angeles, is the root of the problem. The mayor should know that and target it in his public comments.

Julie Sherman, a partner in the law firm Straussner-Sherman and a representative of injured employees for 25 years, was interviewed for an hour by the Times for its story. Fewer than 50 words of the interview were printed by the Times in its 3,500-word article. As a result, the law firm published a strong rebuttal to the story on the firm’s website. It is recommended reading for anyone – starting with the mayor – who needs to understand why the increased cost of IOD is the result of inaccessible medical treatment in the workers’ compensation system, not fraud.

On behalf of the 99.9 percent of the public safety officers who are injured on duty and are off work because they have to be, not because they want to be, we call on the mayor to withdraw his offensive and veiled threat, and apologize to the men and women of the LAPD and LAFD. Moreover, we think the mayor should turn his attention to fixing the broken worker’s compensation system and helping us get cops to work.

We invite you to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

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LAPD Disciplinary Process – Clearing the Air?

By LAPPL Board of Directors on 09/26/2014 @ 02:22 PM

As said in the book To Kill a Mockingbird, “The best way to clear the air is to have it all out in the open.” And, all out in the open is precisely what happened following the detention of actress Daniele Watts on September 11, 2014, following her social media posts claiming LAPD officers only detained her because of her race. LAPD Sergeant Jim Parker, the officer who first encountered Ms. Watts, put everything “out in the open” by recording his interaction between him and Ms. Watts the day of the encounter, clearly disproving her claim of racial bias by LAPD officers.

It appears the tape and photos of Ms. Watts’ conduct prior to police arrival seem to disprove any racial bias by officers, who according to an LAPD press release “responded to a radio call of indecent exposure in the 11900 block of Ventura Boulevard. The citizen who called the police to complain told the 9-1-1 operator that a male and a female were involved in indecent exposure inside a Silver Mercedes with the vehicle door open.” After listening to the tape and seeing the photos, community activists such as Urban Policy Roundtable President Earl Ofari Hutchinson held a press conference to call on Watts to apologize to the LAPD for her racial bias allegations. Hutchinson said the audio recording and photos cast doubt on Watts’ account.

“I was one that was very outspoken about it,” he said. “We take racial profiling very seriously. It’s not a plaything. It’s not trivial.” Hutchinson told KNBC that this incident was a teaching moment for him. “We began to see pictures that actually show that perhaps there was probable cause for the stop. There was probable cause for the detention,” he said. “You must have your facts. You can’t rush to judgment. If you do that, you have no credibility.”

One might think that the tape, photo, that fact that it appears no formal complaint was made by Ms. Watts, and the outspoken judgment by community leaders that there was no racial bias by police in this incident would end the matter for the LAPD. Wrong.

Although it appears that a complaint has not been filed by Watts, LAPD Internal Affairs has launched an internal affairs investigation of the sergeant and two other officers who responded to the incident. The officers have not been told what they constituted “misconduct.” Perhaps this investigation is driven by the consent decree entered into years ago by the LAPD, which demands an investigation when wrongdoing comes to the attention of the LAPD. However, we would be guessing as that being the basis, because when asked for comment by the media as to the nature of the investigation, the Department responded, “we don’t have a comment to make.”

One can only imagine what would have happened had Sergeant Parker not taped the incident, and had the tape not been released to the media. Likely, there would have been a long debate about racial bias in the LAPD, the names of the involved officers would have leaked, then tarnished, and it would have been much later before the investigation ended and the “air cleared.” Instead, although what did happen is known, a mysterious foray into some unknown wrongdoing will commence.

Regardless of the investigation’s conclusions, and even if the officers involved in this incident are cleared of wrongdoing, this unwarranted investigation will have future repercussions. The fact the officers were investigated will always remain in their personnel files, and may detrimentally affect their careers going forward. As an appellate court has noted in a 2013 ruling on an LAPPL lawsuit regarding internal affair investigations, the LAPD may use prior complaints without finding of wrongdoing to establish “a ‘pattern of conduct’ that for purposes of, be used to sustain a future complaint.”

The investigation into this incident brings into the open what many LAPD officers have long claimed; the LAPD disciplinary system is arcane, unfair and needs to be reformed. The tape and photos in this incident, viewed by the public and concerned community activists, “cleared the air” and allowed persons of commonsense to quickly come to rational conclusions about what happened. Unfortunately for the officers involved, they will now be forced into the “rabbit hole” of the LAPD disciplinary process, a process that would make the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland chafe with envy.

We invite you to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

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Providing ID To Police Officers - A Public Service Announcement

By LAPPL Board of Directors on 09/16/2014 @ 12:12 PM

The Los Angeles Police Protective League provides the following as a public service for those whose understanding of the law regarding the necessity to provide identification to police comes from watching, or acting in, fictional police dramas. Instead, they might want to rely on the considered advice of legal professionals, such as the prosecutors at the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office. Those prosecutors have opined that when you are detained by a police officer, you must provide identification when asked to do so, or face arrest for obstructing or delaying a police officer.

The Supreme Court of the United States has upheld the requirement to provide identification to an officer during a detention. In 2004, in Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District of Humboldt County, the court ruled on the case of a man detained by the police who “refused to identify himself only because he thought his name was none of the officer’s business.” The Supreme Court disagreed, ruling a police officer has a right to request identification during a valid detention. The court ruled that obtaining identification was a minimal intrusion on a suspect’s privacy, with the need for law enforcement to quickly dispel suspicion that an individual is engaged in criminal activity, justifying the requirement a suspect is required to disclose his or her name. As a California Appellate Court summed up, “where there is a right to detain, there is a companion right to request and obtain the detainee’s identification.”

What constitutes a lawful detention is also clearly established law for several decades. As the United States Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Sokolow, a person may be detained if there is reasonable suspicion that the detainee may be involved in criminal activity. What is reasonable suspicion is a level of justification considerably less than probable cause for an arrest, and it does not matter that there might be a possible innocent explanation of the activity witnessed by the police officer.

We remind those who rely on fictional police dramas as the basis of their refusal to identify themselves during a lawful detention, that they should know the friendly prosecutors at the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office have said, while failure to identify oneself cannot, on its own, justify an arrest, nothing in United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit case law prohibits officers from asking for, or even demanding, a suspect's identification. Instead, Ninth Circuit cases, as well as those of the United States Supreme Court, suggest that determining a suspect’s identity is an important aspect of police authority. For example, one of the most common investigative techniques used in investigatory stops is interrogation, which may include both a request for identification and inquiry concerning the suspicious conduct of the person detained. The Alameda District Attorney’s Office have opined that a detained person’s refusal to furnish written identification if they have it, or to walk away from an officer requesting identification, is a violation of Penal Code § 148(a)(1). That is the Penal Code section that makes it unlawful to willfully delay or obstruct an officer in the performance of his duties. As a California Appellate court ruled, to allow otherwise and to “accept the contention that the officer can stop the suspect and request identification, but that the suspect can turn right around and refuse to provide it, would reduce the authority of the officer… to identify a person lawfully stopped by him to a mere fiction.”

We are hopeful the advice of these prosecutors — the ones who decide whether criminal charges are filed — will avoid future encounters with individuals whose erroneous understanding of their “rights” end up leading to either their arrest, or a detention that is prolonged past the few minutes that would have been necessary to ascertain their ID and send them on their way.

We invite you to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

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Proposition 47 does not put public safety first

By LAPPL Board of Directors on 09/16/2014 @ 10:01 AM

Californians are facing one of our most serious public safety threats in recent memory. The threat is Prop 47 — a ballot initiative that would flood the streets with thousands of dangerous felons and soften penalties to make misdemeanors out of serious crimes that are now felonies.

We face a huge uphill battle to defeat it. According to a recent San Francisco Chronicle column, the pro-Prop 47 forces have raised more than $3 million, compared to just $8,000 by the opposition. Recent polls show that about 6 in 10 people support it. But do they really know what Prop 47 is going to do if it passes?

That’s why it’s so important for you to get the word out about this ill-conceived and dangerous initiative. Its backers are peddling the sham that it would create safer neighborhoods and provide money for schools. They don’t want the public to know the following:

  • An estimated 10,000 inmates could apply to have their charges reduced to misdemeanors and get early releases. An independent analysis determined the vast majority of these people have violent crime histories. Felons with prior convictions for armed robbery, kidnapping, carjacking, child abuse, residential burglary, arson, assault with a deadly weapon and many other serious crimes will be eligible for early release under Prop 47.
  • Prop 47 will protect gun thieves by eliminating the current automatic felony prosecution for that crime. Under Prop 47, firearm theft would be a felony only if the value of the gun is greater than $950, and almost all handguns sell for less than that amount. People don’t steal guns to add them to their collection — they steal guns to commit other crimes, including murder.
  • Prop 47 will reduce the penalty for possession of date-rape drugs, such as ketamine, to a simple misdemeanor. No matter how many times the suspected sexual predator has been charged with possession of date-rape drugs, or with stalking female victims, it will only be a misdemeanor. The judge will be forced to sentence them as if it were their first time in court.
  • A defendant with priors for carjacking and armed robbery will receive a misdemeanor sentence for daytime commercial burglary.
  • Judges will be prevented from blocking the release of dangerous felons, except in very rare cases. Even if the judge finds that an inmate poses a risk of committing crimes such as kidnapping, robbery, assault, spousal abuse, torture of small animals, carjacking, or felonies committed on behalf of a street gang, Prop 47 requires their release.
  • All drug possession cases, including possession of heroin, methamphetamine or cocaine, will become automatic misdemeanors.
  • Shoplifting, theft, forgery and fraud — where the value of the stolen goods or forged documents is less than $950 — would be misdemeanors. The language of the measure suggests that even if a person forges multiple documents whose total value exceeds $950, the person could only be charged with a misdemeanor.

Prop 47 coddles sexual predators, increases the prospects of addicts continuing their addictions and committing crimes to feed their habits, eliminates current gun-theft deterrents and puts an enormous burden on small business by going easy on petty theft and fraud. It will burden our criminal justice system by overcrowding jails with dangerous felons who should be in a state prison, and it will jam courts with hearing requests from inmates seeking to obtain “Get out of prison free” cards.

Law enforcement professionals, prosecutors, business leaders and crime victim advocates recognize Prop 47 for what it is; a radical package of poorly thought-out policies, wrapped in a poorly drafted initiative, that will endanger all law-abiding Californians.

San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe put it succinctly when he recently told the San Jose Mercury-News, “Someone can commit petty theft 10,000 times and we’d still have to always charge it as a misdemeanor.”

Clearly, we’re not going to win the Prop 47 fundraising battle. But we must win the ballot box battle, and it’s critical for this state that we do. So, please talk to your friends, neighbors, relatives — everyone you can think of — and encourage them to vote NO on Prop 47 in November. Call and email your elected officials and encourage them to speak out against this dangerous and irresponsible initiative.

When a career criminal steals a firearm, or a suspected sexual predator possesses date-rape drugs, or a carjacker steals yet another vehicle, there needs to be an option besides a misdemeanor slap on the wrist. Proposition 47 DOES NOT put public safety first.

We invite you to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

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The aftermath of police encounters with “unarmed” individuals — 57 murders

By LAPPL Board of Directors on 08/26/2014 @ 04:44 PM

Repeated descriptions of a suspect as “unarmed” when shot by a police officer does not, contrary to the belief of the New York Times and others who use the term without further describing the facts of the encounter, determine if the force used by an officer was lawful or reasonable. Labeling the suspect as “unarmed” does not begin to answer the question of the danger they posed in each instance where deadly force was used.

According to the FBI’s online database of officers feloniously killed, as well as the Officer Down Memorial Page, since 2000, there have been at least 57 occurrences where the suspects have taken officers’ weapons and murdered the police officer with it. Fifty-seven times, loved ones of those officers heard the awful knock on their front door, notifying them that their husband, wife, father, mother, son or daughter would never be coming home again. Fifty-seven times, the threat that some loudly continue to claim does not exist, ended with fatal results.

While statistics for officers killed with their own weapons are hard to find, we know from the FBI and www.odmp.org that between 2000-10, at least 51 officers were killed by suspects who used the officer’s own gun. Four officers were killed in 2011, one officer in 2013. While the data for 2014 is not final, we know that Johnson City (New York) Police Officer David Smith was murdered this past March with his own weapon.

Thus asking, “What justification do the police have for killing an unarmed suspect?” and answering “none” as former Police Chief Joseph McNamara did in this blog is pointless. Twenty-five years ago, in the case of Graham v. Connor, the United States Supreme Court set forth the legal standard for evaluating a use of force. The U.S. Supreme Court wrote an officer’s action is judged in light of the facts and circumstances confronting them, without regard to their underlying intent or motivation. Crucially, the “reasonableness” of a particular use of force must be judged from the “perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene.” The U.S. Supreme Court recognized that the “calculus of reasonableness must embody allowance for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second judgments—in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving—about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation.”

The reality is that police officers need and wear guns. Those firearms can be taken by “unarmed” suspects and turned against the officer. Many armchair experts across the country sit around their air-conditioned conference rooms, pondering their views on how police officers could kill an “unarmed suspect” and the non-existent threat they pose to officers. We must ask, what did they use to as the factual basis for their conclusions? Is it from fictional police dramas on TV? Gut instinct?

We won’t be so crass as to suggest that we give a gun to the columnists and editorial writers who equate “unarmed” with “not dangerous,” and then tell them that although we are unarmed, we are going to try to take that gun from them. If successful, we will use the gun to shoot them. While we are confident this scenario might slightly affect their mindset on “unarmed” suspects, the tragic reality is that scenario has happened at least 57 times in 14 years.

Until all of the facts surrounding the use of force by any officer are known, the urge to decide whether the use of deadly force was reasonable and lawful is simply a “rush to judgment”—no matter how many times the suspect is referred to as “unarmed.”

We invite you to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

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No outrage against attempted murder of police officers

By LAPPL Board of Directors on 08/19/2014 @ 03:21 PM

KTLA Los Angeles / August 18, 2014

(KTLA Los Angeles / August 18, 2014)

Over the last 72 hours, there have been a number of attempted murders of police officers in Los Angeles County, yet there has been no community or media outrage.

Two prime examples include an LAPD SWAT officer who was severely injured during a shootout with a suspected gunman following a pursuit in South Los Angeles. In another case, a sheriff’s deputy is facing a long recovery after undergoing surgery for life-changing injuries he suffered in an unprovoked attempted murder by an “unarmed” man already on probation for assaulting a peace officer. Witnesses said the deputy was escorting a male suspect in a mall when the suspect unexpectedly turned on the deputy and hit him several times, knocking the deputy to the ground, and continuing his assault.

Crickets chirp as we wait for the LA Times Editorial Board to chime in with some suggestions on police tactics following these incidents.

City residents, law enforcement, community members and editorial writers should be alarmed when those whose job it is to fight crime on a daily basis are being targeted for murder. Why do otherwise reasoned individuals—despite evidence before them to the contrary—become reflexively critical of police? Why do these individuals jump to the twisted conclusion that police officers’ lives are any less endangered when encountering “unarmed” suspects than when they’re staring down the barrel of a gun? Why do these same individuals assume all officer-involved shootings—while always tragic—are always “bad” shootings? These individuals are cherry-picking the facts and doing a disservice to the communities they serve.

The disconnect between reality and the world in which newspaper editorial boards live in cannot not be more starkly contrasted than the LA Times editorial which pontificated about the Ezell Ford shooting with the following: “It is hard to believe that police cannot refine their encounters with unarmed citizens to avoid the use of deadly force.” In other words, according to the Times, “unarmed” residents pose no threat to officers.

The reality is that when somebody attacks a police officer, they should expect the reaction to their attack will be swift, sure and met with enough force to end the assault. As LAPPL President Tyler Izen told the Times, “While waiting for the facts to be determined, I feel the need to restate the obvious. When a person attempts to take an officer’s gun from them, no matter their physical or mental condition, we should expect an officer to respond accordingly to save their life—and that likely includes the use of deadly force.”

We also note with dismay that while compelled to devote numerous pages of coverage to the unfolding situation in Ferguson, Missouri, the Los Angeles Times Editorial Board cannot be stirred to write even a murmur of protest over the violence directed against police officers there. Apparently, throwing Molotov cocktail bottles, rocks, and other debris at police officers is just not worthy of their commentary. Yet, you can be sure that if a police officer were the perpetrator of equivalent violence, entire forests would be decimated to print the hand-wringing editorials from the Los Angeles Times.

If a suspect takes or attempts to take an officer’s gun by force, he has sent a clear message that he intends to murder that officer and possibly others, and must be stopped for the safety of all. Whether that aggressive suspect is under the influence of a controlled substance, alcohol, or has a mental illness, the target of his attack will be in immediate danger nonetheless. When anyone grabs for the officer’s gun, they become an armed suspect, and in most cases, predetermined the tragic outcome of events.

Public safety requires a strong two-way partnership. We need to make it clear that Los Angeles is a city in which violence against the community or its police officers is never tolerated. The dedicated men and women of the Los Angeles Police Department, who serve to protect our communities, deserve all the tools and support the community can possibly provide. The LAPPL asks the public and our community leaders to continue to support our officers and make sure that criminals do not deter them from making Los Angeles the safest big city in America.

We invite you to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

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Misuse of statistics behind erroneous LA police officer salary claims

By LAPPL Board of Directors on 08/07/2014 @ 04:44 PM

Ed Ring can’t be taken seriously, given the bile he regularly spews out, such as public employee unions “are the primary force behind the erosion of our freedoms and the ebb of our prosperity. They must be eliminated” and “A California renaissance requires only one thing-the abolition of public sector unions.”

However, since Ring’s views that are churned out at either his “UnionWatch” or “California Policy Center” websites are sometimes picked up other sites, some obvious misstatements beg to be rebutted.

A case in point: Ring’s latest attempt to opine on pay raises for Los Angeles police officers is the latest demonstration of both his lack of understanding of pension issues and his continual need to invent numbers to fit his preordained conclusions. In this piece, Ring attempted to determine “how much do Los Angeles police officers make?” Well, in “Ring math,” what an officer “makes” includes pay, cost of benefits, and the cost of City contribution to the Police and Fire pension system for pensions and retiree healthcare.

According to Ring, the average officer makes $110,285. To that number, he adds the City contribution last year for pension and retiree health of 49.51 percent. That, exclaimed Ring, means the “average total compensation for LAPD officers is actually $157,151.” Uh, no!

The annual cost of City contributions for employee pensions and retiree healthcare is known as the “normal cost.” For pensions, it is 19.43 percent, and 4.06 percent for the retiree health subsidy. That’s about 23.49 of salary—a far cry from the figure Ring touts.

The other part of the City contribution he cites pays for the unfunded liability, which covers the past investment experience of the plan and fluctuates depending on past performance. For example, prior to the 2008 financial crisis, the unfunded liability was negligible, and the City contribution rate was essentially simply the “normal cost.” Further, unfunded liabilities include pension liabilities of already retired and deferred plan members, not just active officers. The bottom line is that claiming the unfunded liability cost as part of an officer’s compensation is grossly and deliberately misleading—but that should not surprise us when it comes to Ring’s opinion pieces.

Wrong on so many issues, Ring can’t separate himself from an issue he has unsuccessfully pushed for years. Since the 2008 crisis, he and his fellow public pension haters have bashed the assumed return rate assumptions of public pension plans as being too high. Turns out the Los Angeles Fire and Police Pension system return rate was 17.3 percent for 2013-2014, and other public pension funds reported similar double-digit returns and five-year returns exceeding their assumed rates. This isn’t happy news for Ring. But rather than acknowledging these facts, in the same screed in which he inflates officers compensation, Ring deflates assumed return rate assumptions in a desperate attempt to enlarge the unfunded liability of pension funds.

More dissection of Ring’s handiwork isn’t really necessary because as the famous saying goes, Ring uses statistics as a drunk uses a lamppost; for support, not illumination. A bitter worldview to be sure, just not one grounded in reality or facts.

We invite you to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

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The value of LAPD and Public Safety

By LAPPL Board of Directors on 07/24/2014 @ 12:56 PM

The purpose of a City is to provide a variety of services to its residents, chief among them public safety. Services are provided by people, which is why the majority of costs in every city budget are the costs of employees. It is always interesting to hear critics of public employees decry the cost of their pay and benefits, while simultaneously assuming that slashing pay and benefits will result in more City services — as if quality employees will flock to work for an employer who offers compensation lower than what they could earn elsewhere.

When City revenues fall, employees pay the brunt of the subsequent restructuring, either in job losses or cuts and freezes in salaries and benefits. The officers of the LAPD are a prime example. While residents may have received less in City services, LAPD officers and their families were directly and negatively impacted. The dedication and willingness to tackle the problem at personal expense helped the City address its budget challenges and maintain core services. Those concessions included:

  • Tier 6 pension – $30 million annual savings
  • Compensated time off for overtime – $80 million annual savings
  • 20 percent pay cut for new hires – $5 million annual savings
  • 2 percent increase in medical contributions – $12 million annual savings

There is a true “high cost to protect and serve in L.A.,” just not a cost that critics of LAPD pay and benefits like to acknowledge. It’s the cost of not using increased City revenue to repair the cuts outlined above that LAPD officers took over the last several years. While City revenues have increased, City leaders “hope” that their refusal to engage in meaningful efforts to use increased revenues to reverse these cuts will not affect public safety. Unfortunately for them, “hope” is not a plan.

The LAPD has reached an inflection point; the rank and file’s recent vote to reject the City contract is firm evidence that morale is down. There is a deep seeded frustration and anger among the rank and file due to their low pay, working conditions, a disciplinary system that is viewed as biased and unfair and their perception that management is unreceptive to their concerns. That frustration has translated to the fact that officers are no longer willing to continue their financial givebacks. Nor are these officers without alternatives; experienced and well-trained officers are desired by police and sheriff departments throughout Southern California and statewide. LAPD does not have a magical attraction that prevents officers, who have fallen well behind their peers, from leaving for higher salaries in other agencies.

The loss to the City if officers leave in large numbers will be profoundly felt and seen in a variety of ways. To begin with, the City will incur enormous financial costs from the estimated $150,000 the City pays to recruit and train every new police officer.

Furthermore, public safety is likely to suffer — the City of San Jose is a prime example. There, the police force of 1,400 has plummeted to 900 as salary cuts, an illegal and flawed ballot initiative, and repeated denigration of police officers by the Mayor and other city leaders spurred officers to leave in droves. In lockstep with the steadily shrinking police force, crime in San Jose has increased at a rate higher than state and national averages. In Los Angeles, the City has been unable to recruit enough people to fill authorized Academy classes and recent graduates are leaving to work for other agencies upon completing the Academy. This pay differential is why 130 LAPD officers left the Department last year alone for other police departments. While the City has now decided to fix the starting salary regardless of the contract, what about the tenured officers who have worked for years and sacrificed to keep Los Angeles safe?

One myth being spread is that “For every dollar paid in salary to police officers, the city must come up with 50 cents more for retirement costs.” That statement is simply NOT factually correct, and reflects a lack of understanding of pension financing. A modest cost of living adjustment to all officers will NOT increase the City’s contribution as a percent of pay, as the City’s contribution next year already has imbedded in it a salary increase for all officers. According to reports publically available at the Los Angeles Fire and Police Pension (LAFPP) website, the percentage the City will pay, if it pays that amount, is already calculated cost and will not increase the City’s payment by 50 percent every year as some have claimed. A modest cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for officers means that the City would only pay more in dollars, but the percentage will not increase.

The City’s refusal to meaningfully address the disparity in officer pay compared to agencies in other large cities, the Department’s arbitrary and unfair disciplinary system, and the backhanded slaps at officers by City leaders is creating a toxic stew that will have long-lasting and impactful results for the City’s residents. Public safety that is delivered by highly trained, quality individuals cannot come on the cheap, even if City leaders “hope” it can.

Let’s learn from the examples in San Jose. City leaders need to address the real issues of pay and unfair and arbitrary disciplinary practices in a serious and meaningful way, and they need to do it now. They need to put public safety first.

We invite you to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

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