Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Police hiring, labor talks on LA City Council's 2014 agenda

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The Los Angeles City Council returns Tuesday from its winter break, and police hiring and labor talks are likely to top the agenda in the coming months. 

The recruitment of new LAPD officers will be a hot topic. Council members want to know why the police department is not finding enough qualified candidates. The department has been trying to maintain a force of about 10,000 officers — a benchmark set by former mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. The department is currently just shy of that level, but there is concern about keeping up with attrition.

Under a motion from Councilman Tom LaBonge, City Hall also wants to find ways to encourage military veterans to join LAPD.

The city council is also expected to look at the fire department's use of technology and data. That comes as Mayor Eric Garcetti continues a nationwide search for a new fire chief.

And on the horizon are contract negotiations with City Hall's biggest unions. The labor talks follow last year's contentious negotiations with the union that represents DWP employees, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. They also come as many City Hall employees enjoy the last in a series of raises that saw their salaries increase almost 25 percent over six years. 

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