LAPD sends more officers home as it copes with overtime cutbacks

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File photo: Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck announces the 2009 crime statistics for Los Angeles on January 6, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.

The LAPD’s sending a growing numbers of officers home as it continues to contend with cutbacks in overtime hours.

Nearly a year ago, the LAPD stopped paying cash overtime and started to compensate officers who worked beyond their scheduled hours with time off. It also capped compensatory overtime. That means Chief Charlie Beck had to start telling officers to stay home.

“Last month, we gave the equivalent of 440 officers full time off," says Beck. "In other words, we reduced the size of the Los Angeles Police Department by 440 officers through the reimbursement of this compensatory overtime.”

It’s just one effect of the city’s budget crisis. Beck said he’s shifted officers around to make up for the losses and it’s worked so far. Murders are down 10 percent. But the chief said cutbacks continue.

“We are going to be closing some area desks during late night hours – only those that are adjacent to other police stations, so people have a place to go," says Beck. "We will be limiting some of the traffic accidents that we investigate. It will take longer to get to some calls.”

Beck hopes the L.A. City Council will allocate more cash to pay for some overtime. That’s unlikely as L.A. struggles with reduced tax revenues and soaring health care and pension costs. City number crunchers project a more than $300 million deficit next year.

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