LOS ANGELES — Claiming response times are slower and fewer cops are on the streets, Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin introduced a motion Jan. 20 aimed at increasing the number of officers out on regular patrol.
“Too often, I hear from constituents that they rarely see a patrol car in their neighborhood, or that it takes LAPD too long to respond to an emergency call. Our neighborhoods deserve better,” Bonin said, previewing his motion.
“We need more patrol officers — in Westside neighborhoods and in neighborhoods around the city. My ‘Back to Basic Car’ plan will make that happen.”
The motion calls on the LAPD to look at increasing patrols, including dismantling some specialized units and hiring more civilians to move officers off desk duty. The department would also be asked to review its “basic car” areas, which are geographic boundaries for patrol assignments.
The motion also would instruct the LAPD to report back with an explanation of how daily police deployment and patrol staffing levels are determined.
According to the motion, in 1969, when the city had about a million less residents, there were 6,194 sworn officers and an average 337 officers on patrol during the day shift. Last month, with 9,885 sworn LAPD officers, an average of 311 were on patrol.
“The numbers paint a clear picture of where our priorities have been, and it unfortunately hasn’t been in having patrol officers in our neighborhoods,” Bonin said. “To have thousands more sworn officers in the LAPD, but fewer of them in our neighborhoods, shows a problem that must be corrected.”
The LAPD Media Relations Section had no comment on Bonin’s motion, but a spokesman said LAPD commanders were reviewing it.
Craig Lally, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, praised Bonin’s proposal.
“Response times to emergency calls are getting longer due to our neighborhood policing staffing crisis,” Lally said. “We’ve heard enough talk. We need action now. We’re excited to see Council member Bonin take action and propose to put resources towards making our neighborhoods safer.”
In his motion, Bonin cited league survey indicating that 87 percent of the 1,200 police respondents did not believe divisional deployment was sufficient to respond to 911 calls in a timely manner, and 89 percent did not believe deployment was sufficient to conduct community policing.