Los Angeles – City Controller Ron Galperin outlined a plan to hire civilian employees to do 458 Police Department jobs that do not require specialized officer training or expertise–a move that would free more officers to fight crime more directly.
According to an audit released today by Galperin’s office, 621 positions that involve tasks such as managing the police department’s social media accounts, maintaining equipment rooms and tracking the flow of documents could be handed over to civilian employees, who, on average, earn $44,000 per year less in wages and benefits than sworn officers. 458 of these positions--as of February 2016, when auditors completed their fieldwork--are currently being performed by able-bodied police officers. The remainder are largely being done by officers on permanent limited duty because of injuries, disabilities or administrative directives.
“Our police should be doing more officer work and less office work,” said Controller Galperin. “Wisely spending our money on less expensive civilian employees to do administrative tasks frees up our force of professional police officers to keep our neighborhoods safe.”
The Los Angeles Police Department employs about 9,900 officers and about 2,900 civilian employees.
Auditors put the cost of filling the 458 jobs with civilians at $53.6 million per year--less than 4% of the department’s $1.4 billion budget in FY 2015-16. Moreover, the change might offer savings by offering opportunities to reduce sworn officer overtime, the cost of which more than doubled from FY 2009-10 to FY 2014-15 to $93 million.
The Controller’s audit follows up on a similar audit performed in 2008 that also recommended civilianizing more jobs at the LAPD. The new report finds that the number of civilian jobs being done by sworn officers has actually increased by 14% since 2008. In fact, during the interim between Controller audits, just one position in the LAPD--a Police Administrator in the LAPD COMPSTAT Unit--was transferred from a sworn officer to a civilian.
Both violent crime and property crime across the City went up in 2015. Controller Galperin urged the Mayor and Council to incorporate the boost in civilian staffing as they prepare next year’s budget–a process which begins April 20th.
“There is broad agreement among stakeholders that the time to act is now,” said Controller Galperin. “I am confident that our audit is igniting the spark we need to get more civilians behind desks and more officers into our communities.”
Lawmakers and other stakeholders signaled strong support for the Controller’s recommendations.
“With the recent implementation of AB 109 and Prop 47 and the growing burden of realignment and reclassification, it is imperative that we expand the resources of the LAPD at the local level,” said Councilmember Mitchell Englander, Chair of the Public Safety Committee. “Civilian restoration will allow the Department to move officers off desks and back into black and whites - into the field where they are needed most. I want to thank Controller Ron Galperin and Chief Charlie Beck for their unwavering commitment to protecting our communities.”
“I applaud the Controller’s Office for bringing this critical issue to the forefront once again,” said LAPD Chief Charlie Beck. “Freeing up police officers from positions that can be performed more capably and efficiently by civilian personnel enables us to effectively deploy more officers on the streets to keep our City safe,” Chief Beck added.
“I support Controller Ron Galperin's recommendations,” said Matthew M. Johnson, President of the Los Angeles Police Commission. “The audit recommendations appropriately identify positions that are better performed by civilian professional staff, which will result in the redeployment of our police officers to our patrol force, which will increase the presence and response of LAPD officers to make our City safer. This is also a far more efficient way to spend our limited financial resources and increase our field staffing levels.”
A list of the 621 positions identified by auditors can be found at www.lacontroller.org