Los Angeles, CA – The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has been forced to dramatically cut back on the amount of services it provides to the community in an effort to offset the $150 million budget cut that resulted from anti-police protests earlier this year.
As a result of the defunding, LAPD has been left with no choice but to downsize many specialized units including its homicide, gang, air support, and narcotics divisions as homicides soared to the highest level in a decade, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“We need to offload a number of responsibilities,” LAPD Chief Michel Moore told the paper late last week.
Police officers will no longer respond in person to traffic crashes or other so-called low-priority incidents.
Citizens who are involved in crashes with minor injuries or those who are the victims of hit-and-runs will have to file their own reports online, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Station desks will only be manned during the weekdays.
The police department will no longer have special deployments in high-traffic areas such as Hollywood and Venice, and has also had to cut teams that have helped in the past to deal with homeless issues, the Los Angeles Times reported.
A total of 234 officers will be moved back into patrol duties to cover the shortfall, according to KTLA.
Chief Moore said that the defunded department is being forced to cut its ranks from approximately 10,110 sworn officers to around 9,752 by March or April of next year, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Those figures don’t include the civilian employee positions that will also be eliminated.
He said the massive budget cuts have presented a “tremendous challenge” for the department and that he sought input from LAPD commanders how to best restructure the agency, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Those potential changes are now being discussed with the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL).
LAPPL President Craig Lally said that the negative impacts the community will experience as a result of the widespread reduction in public safety services will be “catastrophic,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
“These cuts can’t come at a worse time, and our neighbors will be less safe. It’s going to be catastrophic,” Lally said. “There’s nothing good that’s going to come out of this, and it’s only going to get worse. This is just the tip of the iceberg.”
Meanwhile, Black Lives Matter Los Angeles co-founder Melina Abdullah complained that the defunding “doesn’t go nearly far enough,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
Abdullah said her group will be providing the city with a list of programs where they think the funds diverted from the LAPD should be applied.
Chief Moore said that the dramatic cuts have created voids in emergency service response that the city still hasn’t figured out how to solve.
He said he has been working to identify “other agencies and organizations to hand that baton to,” but that replacement agencies and organizations have provided mixed responses, the Los Angeles Times reported.