LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Trying to control police overtime in Los Angeles will put the city in jeopardy, union leaders told the Police Commission Tuesday.
According to the Los Angeles Police Protective League, attempting to control overtime has resulted in officers spending less time patrolling the streets, a “significant” backlog in detective caseloads, victims not being contacted and suspects not going to jail.
The league, which represents about 9,900 rank-and-file police officers, filed a class-action grievance with the city Employee Relations Board last month, contending that improper steps were being taken to control overtime, affecting officers’ ability to do their jobs.
Officers are reporting being pulled from patrol duty two hours before the end of their shifts, so they will not become involved in something that could result in overtime, “at a time when we are shorthanded in the field already,” Cronin said.
Units handling vice, gangs and narcotics are being told their budget for overtime is “zero.”
The grievance case is being mounted as the union is tied up in a labor dispute with the city. The league announced last month it was at an impasse with city leaders on terms of an agreement to extend a labor contract that expired in June, but city officials at the time denied talks had stalled.
Another LAPPL director, Jerretta Sandoz, told the commissioners that $70 million budgeted for overtime this year “is not enough to run a world-class police department.”
“I understand the chief has to manage overtime,” Sandoz said. “It’s not his fault. The mayor and council gave him $70 million.”
Last year, the department was given $15 million that was later doubled to $30 million for overtime costs, according to Commissioner Steve Soboroff.
The safety of the public and officers is “in jeopardy because of the limited amount of overtime,” Sandoz said.
Violent crime rates have risen 7.4 percent, which union officials contend is due to officers being taken off patrol duty.
“Violent crime is primarily suppressed by visible patrol and observation activity by patrol officers,” Cronin said.
Union members in July rejected a proposed one-year agreement that would have raised officers’ starting pay from $49,000 to $57,000. The proposed contract lacked pay raises for existing officers, which LAPPL President Tyler Izen called a “slap in the face” to his members.
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