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LAPD union: Fewer civilian workers means fewer officers on the streets

April 9, 2010 |  8:03 am

LAPD patrol car The union that represents Los Angeles police officers says the number of civilian vacancies in the LAPD means officers are increasingly being diverted from the streets to perform administrative duties.

The Los Angeles Police Protective League said the department was authorized last June to employ nearly 4,000 civilians but now has fewer than 3,000, and that the figure is expected to drop below 2,900 by July 1.

League President Paul Weber said that every 100 officers pulled from field work to back-fill vacant civilian positions equates to removing about 30 police cars citywide. He said line officers are reporting daily that they are spending increasing amounts of time in police stations performing administrative tasks, rather than patrolling the streets.

Even before the city’s current budget crunch, Los Angeles police managers complained that their civilian ranks were severely understaffed. Civilian employees perform much of the department's paperwork and day-to-day processing of data and information.

The union's statement comes as a new fiscal year approaches, with the prospect of even greater reductions in the LAPD's civilian workforce.

-- Richard Winton

Photo: An LAPD patrol car. Credit: Los Angeles Times