LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - Joining three other high-profile mayoral candidates who have advocated for more police on the streets of Los Angeles amid an increase in violent crime, real estate developer Rick Caruso revealed details of his platform Tuesday, including a plan to add 1,500 officers to the LAPD's force if elected mayor.
The Los Angeles Police Department's current personnel number stands at 9,521 sworn members, 185 fewer than its authorized deployment for the fiscal year, Chief Michel Moore said Tuesday.
An additional 1,500 officers would put the department just over 11,000 officers, the number called for by mayoral candidate and L.A. City Council member Joe Buscaino. City Attorney Mike Feuer has said as part of his campaign for mayor that the department should expand to at least 10,000 officers, and Rep. Karen Bass said that if elected mayor she would bring the department to its authorized levels of 9,700 officers by hiring civilian personnel to move desk officers to patrol.
The LAPD is already seeking additional funding in the next fiscal year that would restore staffing levels to 9,800 sworn officers.
The calls for more police from the candidates have been criticized by some community activists who have called for a vast scaling back of law enforcement in response to much-publicized incidents of police brutality, most notably the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Activists calling for a re- imagining of public safety have called attention to the LAPD's budget of $1.761 billion, which is higher than any other city department.
On his campaign website launched Tuesday, Caruso said he would increase the department's budget and said the idea to reduce police budgets "makes no sense when you consider that murders are skyrocketing and L.A. is the most under-policed big city in America."
Advocates for reducing police budgets call for the money to be invested into communities and programs that they argue prevent crime, including by addressing poverty and mental health issues.
Los Angeles had a nearly 12% year-over-year climb in homicides in 2021, bringing it to levels not seen since 2006. Violent crime increased 3.9% and property crimes rose by 4.2%. The number of people shot rose by 9%.
Other major cities across the United States also experienced major increases in violent crime, and many of the cities had sharper increases than L.A.
Caruso's public safety plan includes expanding the LAPD's Gun Unit to address gun violence, expanding laws regarding the safe storage of firearms, doubling the number of gang prevention workers, and making it mandatory for the Los Angeles city attorney to prosecute misdemeanors. He also called for the statewide $950 minimum for felony theft charges to be reduced.
A total of 27 people filed paperwork to run for mayor of Los Angeles in the June 7 primary election. The top two candidates in the primary will face off in the general election on Nov. 8.
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