Los Angeles police could better combat crime in the city by freeing more than 400 able-bodied officers from desk jobs and hiring more civilians to perform clerical duties, according to a recently released audit.
Via the L.A. Times:
The report by City Controller Ron Galperin highlighted a issue that has been persistent and problematic for LAPD brass: As the department’s sworn officer ranks grew slightly to just under 10,000 in the last decade, 621 of those officers are filling civilian clerical positions because of a shortfall in administrative staff.
Some of those officers are injured, but the bulk—458—are fully capable of patrolling city streets, Galperin’s audit found.
“Our highly trained and wonderful police officers should do more officer work and less office work,” Galperin said at a news conference at City Hall.
He recommended that city officials prioritize a long-term budget plan to fill civilian jobs and get cops back on streets.
“These jobs we have to identify don’t require specialized training or expertise of a sworn officer,” he said.
They include positions such as manning desks, managing equipment rooms, time-keeping, clerical work, auditing work, performing digital media tasks and acting as couriers. Some 83 officers also work as jailers.
The LAPD employs about 2,888 civilians. Increasing their ranks to free up officers would cost the city $53.6 million, less than 4% of the LAPD $1.4-billion budget, Galperin said.
That is far cheaper than hiring 400 additional officers, who would cost $44,000 more per position than hiring a civilian.