LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — A new report says the transfer of state prisoners to county jails has forced the Los Angeles Police Department to pull dozens of officers from regular patrol duties to monitor ex-convicts.

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KNX 1070’s Pete Demetriou reports since 2011, the LAPD has had 160 to 170 officers assigned full-time to keep tabs on thousands of convicted felons living in Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Times says the department will spend $18 million this fiscal year on the program, which uses personnel from 21 police divisions to focus on parole and probation compliance.

A two-year-old state law designed to ease prison overcrowding sentenced people convicted of less-serious crimes to county jails instead of state lockups. The report says the LAPD formed compliance teams to monitor those released on probation because the county lacks the resources, the Associated Press reported.

Assistant LAPD Chief Michel Moore told reporters after a Police Commission meeting in downtown L.A. that he believes the program is worth the investment.

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“This strategy, we believe, has been part of our success, and as we move forward, we’ll continue to adjust our strategies as our communities change in their composition,” Moore said.

Critics have charged that the officers would be better utilized fighting crime on street patrols, but Moore said the overall drop in crime city-wide is evidence the effort has been successful.

Tyler Izen of the L.A. Police Protective League said he is concerned that realignment has forced the LAPD to return to a strategy of “doing more with less”.

“We’re reallocating resources that were thin before to a new issue that we didn’t have before realignment,” said Izen. Still, Izen said,  “the LAPD does what the LAPD always does: we adjust to solve problems.”

More than 3,000 arrests of realignment ex-inmates have been made since the program was enacted, 57 percent of whom were released in L.A. In most cases the parolees were arrested for committing new crimes or violating probation.

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