Valerie Macon / AFP via Getty Images
City leaders voted Wednesday to slash the Los Angeles Police Department budget by $150 million, reducing the number of officers to a level not seen for more than a decade.
About two-thirds of the funding was earmarked for police overtime and will be used to provide community services and programs, including a youth summer jobs program.
The City Council’s 12-2 vote will drop the number of officers from 9,988 as of last month to 9,757 by next summer, abandoning a goal of 10,000 officers.
“This is a step forward, supporting minority communities in ways in which they deserve — with respect, dignity and an even playing field,” Councilman Curren Price said.
“We need to rethink what it is that makes people safer and makes communities stronger,” the City Council resolution said.
“We cannot just look at the police in isolation. There is no doubt that communities of color suffer disproportionately from negative interactions with the police.”
Other cities around the country also have cut police budgets or are moving to do so.
New York City lawmakers approved a budget on Wednesday that will slash $1 billion from policing in the coming year.
In California, liberal Berkeley passed a budget on Wednesday that cuts $9.2 million from police, while Oakland leaders last week slashed $14.6 million from law enforcement and are considering steeper reductions.
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The Los Angeles vote reduces the LAPD’s nearly $2 billion budget.
Democratic Mayor Eric Garcetti had proposed increasing it in April to help preserve the staffing level of 10,000 officers before facing a nationwide campaign to defund police.
On Wednesday, he tweeted in support of police reform.
We cannot let this moment come and go without positive change in our cities and our country. We must reform policing and further invest in wealth building and health building in the Black community. https://t.co/7UerFRTAgt
— MayorOfLA (@MayorOfLA) July 1, 2020
There was no immediate comment from the LAPD. However, Police Chief Michel Moore tweeted Wednesday night that “we remain as resolved as ever to the conversation around reform, and continuing to walk forward together.”
“The success of the city’s future is grounded in bridging the divide, and we will never stop working to do just that,” he wrote.
In a statement last month, Moore had said the cut would require “a top-to-bottom assessment, including how we go about our most basic operations” and said the department already had begun to identify potential cost savings and service reductions.
The move comes a day after the board of the Los Angeles Unified School District voted to immediately cut its school police budget by a third.
The $70 million budget for the force of more than 470 officers will be reduced by about $25 million and the money dedicated to “support African American student achievement to the extent of the law,” according to the resolution.
Some 65 officers will be laid off and nearly 40 vacant positions won’t be filled, Police Chief Todd Chamberlain told the school board. He resigned Wednesday.
The school board also called for officers to give up their uniforms and patrol off campus.
Board President Richard Vladovic opposed the move on safety grounds, urging a delay.
“We’re walking right into this without knowing where we’re going, and how we’re going to get there,” Vladovic said.
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