The Los Angeles Police Department is facing a “declining amount” of applicants for positions, a department representative said at a meeting of the city council’s Public Safety Committee Wednesday.
In May, the council instructed the department to report on the number of sworn officers performing civilian functions and include recommendations for how to minimize that number.
That report has not been presented. The department has 9,375 sworn employees, despite authorization to have up to about 9,700. The lower-than-authorized levels come as hiring within the department has not kept up with retirements and resignations in recent years. The department also has 2,662 civilian employees.
Only 19 people attended a recent training session to become public safety representatives, who typically perform dispatcher duties, according to the representative. Typically, the department would get “hundreds” of applicants, he said.
The department anticipates seeing an increase in vacant dispatcher positions this year, according to the representative. Currently there are 83 vacancies.
The committee directed the LAPD to report back on what structural changes would be necessary to relieve sworn personnel from having to fulfill civilian duties.
Councilman Joe Buscaino, a former LAPD officer who joined the force in 1997, said hearing the statistics about the dispatchers “pains” him.
“But it also doesn’t surprise me,” Buscaino said. “Today, the law enforcement community both sworn and civilian has been demoralized. They’ve been disrespected by leaders at all levels of government, by posts on social media, by ongoing attacks on our civilian and sworn personnel within the law enforcement community.”
Buscaino said when he joined the LAPD, they were “hiring like crazy.”
“People were excited to join the LAPD on both sides — the civilian and sworn side,” Buscaino said.