Lead Story Sports West Edition

Rams agree to reimburse city for police, other services

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Rams have agreed to reimburse the full cost of city services incurred during home games at the Coliseum, including for police, fire and street services, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Sept. 13.

“[Team owner] Stan Kroenke and the Rams organization made it clear to me from the start that they intended to be partners with the city and good neighbors to the people of Los Angeles and the region,” Garcetti said. “The commitment they made to cover the cost of game-day impacts to the city — including police, fire and sanitation support at and around the Coliseum — is a win for all Angelenos.

Police presence at the games will also not take officers away from existing patrols around the city, Garcetti said. Only off-duty police officers will provide security outside the Coliseum during games.

“This partnership ensures that fans will continue to enjoy a secure and family-friendly experience at the venue, with no impact on our ability to provide public safety to all of our communities,” he said.

The officers working inside the Coliseum gates will still be on “regular duty and pay,” according to Garcetti spokesman Carl Marziali.

The Rams also will make retroactive payments for two pre-season games held last month, under the agreement. The team’s first regular-season home game will be Sept. 18 against the Seattle Seahawks.

Marziali said the team was already paying for the costs of transportation officers.

The Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union that represents LAPD officers, has been pushing the team to pony up money for security costs. The league estimated that the security will cost the city about $2 million a year, with more than 200 officers needed at each game.

Union officials released a statement saying they are “pleased that the Rams receipt of taxpayer-funded police patrols to secure their games will now end and that they will pay their bill.”

“Keeping police officers on duty fighting crime was the reason the league exposed this arrangement and we now hope that other organizations, such as USC, will follow Mr. Kroenke’s lead and to no longer accept free police officers for their events at the expense of neighborhood safety,” the union said in a statement.

The union noted that the agreement `”shouldn’t have taken so much effort to achieve.”

Former City Councilman Dennis Zine and Los Angeles resident James Bibeau filed a taxpayer lawsuit last month looking to force the team to fund the security cost, saying it would otherwise be an unlawful gift of public funds to the Rams.

Four Los Angeles City Council members also sent a letter last month urging Kroenke to commit to covering all the public safety costs incurred at games played at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

One of the council members who signed the letter, Mitch O’Farrell, said the agreement “is exactly the outcome we were hoping for.”

He said the use of police officers at the recent games necessitated shifting officers from around the city, and the agreement means officers can now “just focus on the core mission of making the community safer.”