LOS ANGELES—The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is not meeting its staffing goals, Chief Michel Moore Aug. 23 told the Board of Police Commissioners.
The department is currently underemployed by 176 officers, Moore said—citing 9,284 sworn officers on staff as of Aug. 13, while the department is authorized to have 9,460.
Moore said the department is also authorized by the city council to hire as many as 780 new sworn personnel, factoring in expected attrition from officers retiring.
"Policing is pulling from an increasingly smaller pool of interested applicants for a variety of reasons, and so we have to be better at being upfront and being a world-class agency," Moore said.
Moore emphasized there is a high threshold for bringing in a new officer, noting that the department hires around just 5 percent of all applicants.
Meanwhile, the department's response time to emergency calls remains under the goal of seven minutes—but response times for urgent and routine calls have "lengthened significantly" as a result of the staffing shortage, according to Moore.
Commissioners requested a report from the police department with more information about the impact of lacking personnel on response time.
Last week, at a meeting of the city council's Public Safety Committee, a police department representative said the department is facing a "declining amount" of applicants for both civilian and sworn positions.
Only 19 people attended a recent training session to become public safety representatives, who typically perform dispatcher duties, according to the representative. Typically, the department would get "hundreds" of applicants, he said.
The department anticipates seeing an increase in vacant dispatcher positions this year, according to the representative. Currently, there are 83 vacancies.
The committee directed the police department to report back on what structural changes would be necessary to relieve sworn personnel from having to fulfill civilian duties.
Councilman Joe Buscaino, a former Los Angeles Police Department officer who joined the force in 1997, said last week that hearing the statistics about the dispatchers "pains" him.
"But it also doesn't surprise me," Buscaino said. "Today, the law enforcement community both sworn and civilian has been demoralized. They've been disrespected by leaders at all levels of government, by posts on social media, by ongoing attacks on our civilian and sworn personnel within the law enforcement community."
Buscaino said that, when he joined the police department, they were "hiring like crazy."
"People were excited to join the LAPD on both sides—the civilian and sworn side," Buscaino said.