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Budget advisor says putting freeze on LAPD hiring could save city $69.3 million

February 3, 2010 |  1:29 pm
With the Los Angeles City Council weighing a plan to eliminate 1,000 government jobs, a top budget adviser said the city could save $69.3 million next year by halting hiring at the Police Department and laying off newly hired police officers.

City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana, responding to a request for information from council members, laid out the savings that could be achieved by canceling plans for hiring 103 officers and laying off 616 probationary officers in the academy and the department.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the Council promised last year to keep hiring enough police officers to maintain a force of 9,963 at the LAPD. But they have come under new pressure as they look to scale back workers in other departments. The cut to police officers would save $15.2 million over the next five months, Santana’s report states.

That proposal was described as a non-starter by two council members Wednesday afternoon. “I can’t imagine laying people off in the academy -- or the probationaries,” said Councilman Greig Smith, who voted earlier this week to cut 1,000 civilian jobs.

As part of the report, Santana also revealed that the city’s shortfall has been revised upward, from $208 million to $218 million.

Cutting 1,000 civilian jobs is expected to save roughly $65 million, slightly less than the proposal to stop the police hiring and eliminate the LAPD’s probationary employees.

Some on the council are open to a considerably less severe proposal, which would cancel the recruitment of new officers but avoid layoffs. Such a move would save nearly $2.2 million this year and $7.7 million in the fiscal year that starts July 1.

A third plan, which would halt hiring and impose layoffs on the 87 recruits who are in the Police Academy, would save $3.6 million this year and $16.1 million in the fiscal year that starts July 1, the report states.

-- David Zahniser