City officials are defending plans to go ahead with nearly $41 million in raises for Los Angeles police officers with college degrees, as well as a planned 4.8 percent raise for all officers in the coming fiscal year.

The Los Angeles Times reports Mayor Eric Garcetti and the City Council signed off on the new LAPD ”education incentives” last summer, paving the way for officers with associates degrees to receive an extra $190 every two weeks and those with bachelors degrees an extra $290. The education bonuses went into effect last month, just as projected tax revenues from hotels, restaurants and retail stores plummeted as a result of the coronavirus shutdowns.

The Times reports that the 4.1 percent raise for sworn officers was part of a contract deal reached with the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union that represents rank-and-file officers.

Garcetti deputy chief of staff Matt Szabo told the Times the raises are needed to keep LAPD salaries competitive with those at other public-safety agencies. Although the bonuses went into effect last month, they were approved by the council in August, when the economy was still strong and coronavirus was not yet a threat, he said.

Despite plans to chop budgets in most city departments, the Garcetti administration has not asked the union to postpone the coming raises and bonuses.

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