LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Citing an increase in violent crime, City Councilman Joe Buscaino said today that if elected mayor he will expand the Los Angeles Police Department to 11,000 officers.
Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said during a Dec. 14 Police Commission meeting that the department's force currently stands at 9,521 sworn officers and 2,685 civilian personnel.
The LAPD is seeking additional funding in the next fiscal year that would restore staffing levels to 9,800 sworn officers. Such a move would fly in the face of many vocal community activists who have called for a vast scaling back of law enforcement funding nationally in response to much-publicized incidents of police brutality, most notably the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
``Our community members, both housed and unhoused, are in danger because of rising, emboldened criminal elements. We can and must do better to protect our community, which is why, as mayor, I intend to allocate the resources needed to train and support 11,000 LAPD officers to keep our streets safe,'' Buscaino said.
City Attorney Mike Feuer also announced as part of his mayoral campaign that he would expand the LAPD to include at least 10,000 officers.
Buscaino and Feuer are running for mayor in 2022 to replace a termed- out Mayor Eric Garcetti. They face several high-profile candidates in the June primary, including Rep. Karen Bass and Councilman Kevin de Leon.
According to Moore, homicides in Los Angeles have increased 15% in 2021 compared to last year, while overall violent crime increased 6.2%. The city has also seen a 12.9% reduction in robberies over a two-year period in robberies, but the percentage of robberies involving firearms has increased.
In his announcement, Buscaino noted Gov. Gavin Newsom's proposed $270 million in grants for law enforcement to address crime in the state, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot's call for the U.S. Attorney General to provide Chicago with federal resources to combat crime, and San Francisco Mayor London Breed's recently announced plan to improve safety.
During the Police Commission meeting, Moore noted that the increase in violent crime in Los Angeles is also being experienced in major cities across the country, and that he takes ``small comfort'' in Los Angeles' increase being more modest compared to other cities, including Chicago and San Francisco.
Los Angeles has experienced a 15.17% increase in homicides from last year and a 51% increase over a two-year period. Meanwhile, over the same two- year period:
-- Chicago has seen a 60% increase in homicides;
-- San Francisco a 53% increase;
-- Houston a 78% increase;
-- Philadelphia a 57% increase;
-- Oakland a 79% increase; and
-- Portland a 109% increase.