LA Police Commission Approves $213 Million Budget Increase

By Micaela Ricaforte
Micaela Ricaforte
Micaela Ricaforte
November 29, 2021 Updated: December 1, 2021

The Los Angeles Police Commission approved a $213 million budget increase for the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) amid rising homicides and crime in the city.

The increase puts the LAPD’s total 2022–23 budget at $1.9 billion, and marks the largest budget in the department’s history.

The department will use part of the funds to add 94 positions, bringing the total of sworn positions to 9,800, and adding 93 civilian positions for a total of 2,905, LAPD Chief Michel Moore wrote in a letter to commissioners (pdf).

LAPD Assistant Chief Beatrice Girmala told the commission earlier this month that the department is under-deployed—for what it is currently funded for—by 181 officers.

Moore also requested $313,000 for staff to support the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games, though the department may later seek state or federal reimbursement, or reimbursement from the Olympic planning committee.

More than half of the proposed budget will go to police salary, overtime, and related expenses, according to the letter.

This increase in the budget comes after the Los Angeles City Council cut $150 million from the LAPD in 2020 after the death of George Floyd sparked a movement of racial justice activists calling for the city to “defund the police.”

Several major cities, including New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Portland cut their police budgets by millions of dollars in 2020.

Data by Bloomberg CityLab estimates that the 50 largest U.S. cities reduced their 2021 police budgets by 5.2 percent on average in 2020; however, the cities’ enforcement spending on average—which makes up a portion of the general spending—rose slightly from 13.6 percent last year to 13.7 percent in 2021.

This year, the council backed the police budget; last month, Councilman Paul Koretz also proposed an additional $30,000 for street enforcement officers in his District 5.

LAPD data shows the homicide rate increased 14 percent from last year, a 45 percent increase from 2019.

Police Commission President William Briggs projected a rise in crime during the holiday shopping season, during a Nov. 23 commission meeting.

“I too hear all the members of the community talking about ‘defund the police,’ ‘We don’t want the police,’” Briggs said. “My question is, do you like crime? Seriously, I don’t think any civic-minded person wants to see another person assaulted, shot, robbed.”

Moore said during a Nov. 23 commission meeting that the rise in crime is partially due to a spike in the availability of handguns.

“The number of handguns that are in the streets today—you’d have to go back probably at least a decade or more to find this level,” Moore said.

This comes after the LAPD declared the prevalence of unserialized ghost guns an “epidemic” in the city last month.

Activist and candidate for city controller Kenneth Mejia said that Moore’s budget asks for $1.3 million to replace the containment vehicle that was blown up after the LAPD fireworks explosion in South LA earlier this year.

“Over the summer, LAPD detonated fireworks in a residential neighborhood in South LA, leaving dozens of families displaced, many injured, and two dead,” Mejia wrote in a tweet on Nov. 22. “Now, as part of their $213 million budget increase, they want $1.3 million to replace the containment vehicle they blew up.”

The city council must approve the LAPD’s budget by June 1, 2022, to go into effect the next month.

A spokesperson for the LAPD didn’t respond to a request for comment by press time.