The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has witnessed a decline in personnel size in recent years, reaching its smallest level in six years. Mayor Karen Bass stated on Thursday that efforts are underway to increase the number of officers on the streets. As of Tuesday, the LAPD had approximately 13,000 total employees, the lowest since 2017, with 9,600 being police officers, also the lowest since 2017. In September, data from the city controller indicated that nearly one in five positions within the LAPD were vacant.
During her first year in office, Mayor Bass addressed a recruiting class at the LAPD’s academy, expressing commitment to restoring the department. LAPD Chief Michel Moore highlighted the challenges faced, including a diminished workforce, outdated facilities, and equipment. However, he praised the mayor’s actions in rebuilding staffing, improving working conditions, vehicles, facilities, and technology.
Mayor Bass noted that in late August, over 1,000 people applied to the LAPD, marking the largest number of applications in a single month since September 2020. While violent crime has slightly decreased over the past year compared to 2022, it remains slightly higher than pre-pandemic levels. Homicides are down about 15%, but still exceed pre-pandemic averages.
The mayor emphasized the role of the newly created Office of Community Safety, allocating $50 million toward violence prevention and addressing societal issues beyond the scope of the police department. Bass stressed that LAPD should not be solely responsible for handling substance abuse, mental health, and homelessness issues. Additionally, a positive trend has been observed in the size of LAPD recruit classes, with a new class graduating each month after six months of training.