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Budget cuts hamper LAPD homicide investigations

April 12, 2010 |  4:27 pm

With the city reeling from its worst financial crisis in decades, the LAPD has stopped paying officers overtime wages, except in rare situations. In lieu of cash, officials have implemented a strict policy of forcing officers to take time off when they accrue large amounts of overtime hours.

Because of demanding work schedules that routinely require them to investigate a case into the night or through the weekend, homicide detectives have been among the first officers to be sent home in significant numbers.

The drain on homicide squads has hampered investigations, several detectives and top department officials said in interviews. Detectives said their investigations are frequently put on hold while they take days off, delaying witness interviews and other potentially important leads.

And, in the crucial first hours after a killing, several supervisors said they now dispatch fewer detectives to the crime scene.

Times staff writer Joel Rubin, who covers the LAPD, reports on how the budget cuts are affecting homicide investigations. In the video above, he assesses the situation.