LA County

Homelessness, Teachers Strike Force LAPD to Break Overtime Budget

The Los Angeles Police Department has already exceeded its overtime budget this year by millions of dollars because of the teachers strike, issues related to homelessness, and special security details at transit stations and Rams games.

Overtime related to the strike topped 6,000 hours alone, which will cost about $500,000, according to an overtime budgeting summary presented to the LA City Council.

A security detail at LA's first "bridge housing" center for the homeless in downtown LA costs an average of $94,286 in police overtime each month, and the cost is expected to increase significantly when a second center opens in Hollywood.

Much of the remaining so-called over-expenditure will be reimbursed by LA County's Metro transit agency and the Rams, but the LAPD will need to borrow millions of dollars from the City's reserve funds in the interim, the summary said.

"We are trying to work more smartly, but at the same time we've had 57,000 more radio calls than last year," Chief Michel Moore told a council budget committee last week. He said special service requests from City Hall had contributed to the overtime increase, as officers were sometimes paid from the overtime account to backfill regular patrol assignments.

Moore said some of the increased call load was related to mental health or disturbance calls, and suggested the City consider how it might dispatch mental health experts, rather than officers.

"When you call 911, you have a police officer or firefighter but why do we not have a mental health professional," Moore asked. "When so much of the people in crisis that are calling truly need a mental health professional in a crisis situation, not a police officer."

Moore said use of police overtime had declined overall in the 2018-2019 fiscal year, and said the use of more digital technology along with expanded civilian hiring promised to control costs in coming years. If the LAPD were to run out of cash to pay overtime officers could be compensated with time off, officials said.

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