A new audit from Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin recommends taking some L.A. Police Department jobs currently filled by officers and turning them into civilian positions.
"The reason that we believe that that is so important is because it's about using the officers that we have in the most efficient and meaningful way possible, and to make sure that they're doing more officer work and less office work," Galperin told KPCC.
There were 458 positions identified that could be filled by civilians. Examples Galperin listed include front desk jobs, managing equipment rooms, timekeeping, administrative work, couriers, social media and some auditors.
"With the uptick that we've seen in crime in L.A., it is vital that we take the officers that we have, and use them for what they were trained for, which is to be helping to prevent and to respond to crime," Galperin said.
Proposals have been made before to make some LAPD jobs into civilian positions, but there wasn't the budget to make it possible, Galperin said. To fill the 458 positions identified with civilians would cost $53 million, but would cost $44,000 less per year for each civilian than to have officers in those positions, Galperin said.
Several parties agreed on another recommendation for civilian positions in 2008, but the downturn in the economy led to civilian positions being cut, ultimately leading to increased LAPD overtime, Galperin said. Over the last five years, LAPD overtime has doubled to $93 million per year, according to Galperin.
L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti's budget includes funding for some of these positions, though not all of the positions recommended by the controller, Galperin said.
Galperin said that they've gone over the positions with the LAPD, which is in "substantial agreement" with the recommendations. He said the recommendations also have the support of the police union and the union representing civilians.
Galperin said he would like to see the change happen over the next year, allowing officers to use their training for more of what they want to be doing. He also added that new technologies make it easier for some of these jobs to be done by civilians.
Read the full audit here: