An internal LAPD memo has signaled the Department has begun to prepare for the possibility of large demonstrations during the week of the Presidential election in November, by directing detectives and officers who typically work in street clothes to report on alternating shifts that week and to expect to have some days off changed to maximize the number of officers on duty.
The "special events scheduling" notice says it's being sent in connection with the upcoming election on Nov. 3, 2020.
A number of law enforcement officials, including some at LAPD, said there are no specific concerns or threats about the election, but the scheduling change and other directives were part of routine preparation.
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Officers and detectives who work administrative and investigative assignments in business or street clothes are often directed to report to work in uniform during "unusual occurrences" so they can be available quickly for crowd control or to back-up the regular patrol shifts, the officials told NBC4.
One additional concern right now, said one senior law enforcement official who did not want to be identified by name, is the growing number of LAPD officers who have recently begun the process of retirement.
Even though retirement dates may be weeks or months away, many of the officers have begun to take paid time off to use unused vacation or compensated time-off, the senior official said.
"They're running their time," the official said Wednesday, referring to the practice of officers ending their careers with months of paid vacation before a final retirement date.
The official estimated at least 300 officers were in the process of retirement.
Many officers' time banks expanded rapidly when the LAPD announced in June it would cease cash overtime because of budget overruns related to the protests that followed the killing of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis.
The I-Team reported three months earlier the LAPD had already exceeded its overtime budget because of the teachers' strike, special details at Rams games, and a new monthly expense of providing round-the-clock security at certain homeless shelters.
The City Council then directed that LAPD reduce its operating budget by more than $150 million, prompting a number of cost-cutting discussions at police headquarters and plans to operate with hundreds-fewer officers and far fewer specialized units in the coming months.