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LAPD Chief to Return 130 Desk Officers to Streets

LAPD Chief to Return 130 Desk Officers to Streets

Daily Breeze via YellowBrix

December 23, 2009

Streamlining the upper management of the Los Angeles Police Department, Chief Charlie Beck said Tuesday he plans to take 130 officers off desk duty and return them to the streets.

“This will be the first wave of officers as we move forward,” Beck said, outlining the organizational changes he is making during his first months as chief. "This will be extremely important as the bank of overtime for officers grows and we are forced to shrink the force to deal with compensation.

“I think it’s important to recognize, especially in lean fiscal times, that we have to put our high-dollar positions where they serve the public.”

The LAPD, like other municipal agencies, is being forced to make cuts to close the city’s multimillion-dollar budget deficit. Its strategy includes reducing overtime and forcing officers to take compensatory time off.

Officials with the Police Protective League, which represents the department’s sworn officers, said they had no comment on the reorganization.

Beck said the city’s finances and the LAPD budget will play a major role in his decisions. He has promoted Gerald Chaleff, who had been overseeing the now-lifted consent decree, to work directly for him on financial issues.

“It is very important to me this next year and the year following that we deal with budget issues,” Beck said. “We need to change the way we track our budget to make sure every dime we get from the city is spent effectively and in the best possible manner.”

Increasing the number of officers in the field will also fulfill a pledge he made to provide area captains with the necessary resources to more effectively police their jurisdictions.

Also, Beck said he has reduced the number of divisions that report directly to him from eight to six.

“The goals are simple,” Beck said. “We are consolidating like resources and moving autonomy – the ability to make decisions and resources – to the basic 21 service levels in the city.”

Beck is creating an Office of Special Operations under Deputy Chief Michel Moore. His command includes the detective bureau, counterterrorism, criminal intelligence and special operations.

More changes will be coming, Beck said, as Moore and other top commanders make recommendations to further improve the department’s response to crime.

Police Commission President John Mack praised the proposed changes.

“It seems to me to be a thoughtful and rational way to reorganize the department,” Mack said. “As we move forward, we have to be mindful of the budgetary constraints we face.”

Beck said some of the change represents “the ebb and flow of the LAPD” as the department deals with crime and other demands.

Also on Tuesday, the commission received a report showing hiring trends over past five years based on gender and race.

As expected, it showed increases in the number of women and minorities moving up through the ranks, although it has yet to show a major shift in the top command levels.

Chaleff said this was expected because of the amount of time it takes to work for the department before advancing to the ranks of lieutenant, captain and commander. Hiring of women officers has leveled off at about 18 percent, but accounts for a large number of those being promoted.


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