Los Angeles, CA – A top official for the union that represents Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers posted to social media telling her membership that it might be time for Los Angeles cops to seek opportunities in other cities.
The city has been involved in ongoing contract negotiations with the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) and union leadership has expressed open displeasure with the lack of progress, the Los Angeles Times reported.
LAPPL Vice President Jerretta Sandoz posted a complaint on Facebook last month complaining about hostile city council members, the ban on public display of the Thin Blue Line flag at police stations, and lack of a “great” union contract.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore banned the flag honoring fallen heroes in January because of complaints that it didn’t make police stations feel like “safe spaces” for community members.
Sandoz capped her Facebook post with the suggestion that unhappy and disgruntled officers should look for law enforcement jobs in other areas where the political leadership better “understand your worth,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
“Go somewhere that respects the work you do and you don’t have to beg for a great contract,” she wrote. “Go somewhere that has a city council or city manager that openly acknowledges the great work you do, go somewhere that doesn’t have Two or more City Council members who hate you (no exaggeration).”
The union official’s Facebook post, which went up a few days before the LAPD contract expired on June 30, has since been deleted.
Her comments set off a wave of concern amongst the rank-and-file officers as well as the department brass, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Critics questioned why a union official would encourage officers to pick up and leave at a time when the police force was already down 1,000 officers from 2019.
LAPD officials have acknowledged that there has been an exodus of officers leaving the department for other agencies in recent years, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Those departures were making recruitment harder, and also hurting officer retention across the board, according to department officials.
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass has called for rebuilding the police force back up to 9,500 officers, the Los Angeles Times reported.
But LAPD hasn’t been able to recruit enough candidates and graduating classes from the police academy have fallen far short of the number of officers needed to rebuild the force.
The mayor’s office said public safety remained a top priority and that Bass hoped a new LAPPL contract would aid in veteran officer retention, the Los Angeles Times reported.
LAPPL spokesperson Tom Saggau said “substantial progress” had been made in contract talks to address LAPD hiring and retention issues, but sources said that was just union rhetoric that was part of the bargaining process.
Critics called Sandoz’s comments unwise given the already critically-low staffing at LAPD, the Los Angeles Times reported.
But the union official stood by what she had posted.
“My comments were part of a larger online thread about officers who stated they already decided to leave the LAPD,” Sandoz told the Los Angeles Times. “And I stand by every word I wrote to those who decided, or are strongly considering leaving the LAPD for another agency.”