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Politics, government and public life for Southern California

LA Mayoral Race 2013: Wendy Greuel wants to increase LAPD, LAFD ranks without new taxes (updated)

Controller Wendy Greuel says that as mayor, she will increase the size of the LAPD to 12,000 officers and LAFD to 4,000 firefighters and paramedics.
Controller Wendy Greuel says that as mayor, she will increase the size of the LAPD to 12,000 officers and LAFD to 4,000 firefighters and paramedics. Alice Walton/KPCC

The unions that represent police officers and firefighters endorsed Wendy Greuel for L.A. mayor and on Tuesday, she announced a plan to increase their ranks by the year 2020.

Standing outside the headquarters of United Firefighters of Los Angeles City, Greuel pledged to increase the Los Angeles Police Department’s ranks to 12,000 officers by 2020. LAPD crossed the 10,000 cops threshold last month when it folded General Services officers into the department. The Greuel campaign also called for hiring about 1,000 paramedics and firefighters to get the Fire Department to 4,000 personnel.

“L.A.’s police officers and firefighters understand that keeping our city safe isn’t just about getting tough on crime. It’s about giving our first responders the resources and technologies they deserve,” Greuel said.

The controller does not support a proposed sales tax increase that Police Chief Charlie Beck says is necessary to avert LAPD layoffs. Instead, Greuel wants to use 20 percent of the city’s revenue growth to hire more cops, firefighters and paramedics. That pencils out to about $24 million a year, assuming 3 percent growth in the budget from existing sales and property taxes. She'd like to place another $6 million a year in a Public Safety Trust Fund for emergencies. 

A spokesman for Eric Garcetti’s mayoral campaign questioned the math.

"Everyday, Ms. Greuel makes a new promise to a new group.  But her numbers never seem to add up.  She has collected just $239,000 for the city, which is enough to only hire 2 police officers for one year," said Jeff Millman with Garcetti for Mayor.

"Now she now wants to run LA's police and fire departments using the same 'unrealistic projections' that she is using in her audits and her TV ad."

That figure is a reference to how much money the city has gotten back as a result of Greuel’s audits.

Councilwoman Jan Perry also knocked the plan, calling it a "a cut and paste job of a proposal put out by Bob Hertzberg’s failed mayoral campaign of 2005." In that race, Hertzberg proposed using 25 percent of new revenue to hire more police officers. 

"I think Wendy's plan is more of a reflection of her failing campaign, and what she promised to police and fire unions behind closed doors in exchange for their endorsement  of her campaign," Perry said in a statement. 

The pledge to spend more money on public safety coincides with historically low crime levels in Los Angeles, though LAFD continues to struggle with reducing response times. The city’s 2012-13 budget allocated $1.2 billion for LAPD and $513 million for the fire department. 

 

This post has been updated.

 

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