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Police Staffing

Police Staffing
UPDATED DECEMBER 2013

The worldwide economic collapse that began in October 2008 has forced every city in the nation to balance the public safety needs of their community with the fiscal realities of their drastically reduced budgets.  In the last three years, our Long Beach police officers have renegotiated the terms of their contract twice, gave up scheduled pay raises, picked up the entire employee share of their pension, and established a second pension tier for newly hired officers.  In addition the department has shrunk from nearly 1000 officers to around 800 officers.  All of this is happening at the same time Sacramento is releasing 40000 convicted felons back onto our streets in a budget saving plan called "realignment".

In an effort to combat the inevitable increase in crime, the LBPOA has publically called upon the City Council to establish their priorities.  For the last few years, the Council has adopted a postion called "proportional cuts" whereby every city department cuts an equal percentage of their budget.  Unfortunately, this philosophy forces the Council to cut some services that should be saved (the NEED to have) while at the same time keeping some services that should not be saved (the WANT to have).

In 2010, the RAND Corporation published a detailed study that showed a noticeable link between a decrease in police staffing and an increase in crime.  The study also showed that the cost of hiring more police officers is much cheaper than paying for the many associated costs of increased crime.  It is our belief that the entire community suffers when police staffing shrinks and crime increases.  To see the RAND Corporation study, click on the links below:   

In 2012, a study by the Center for American Progress also concluded that communities can see measurable savings and increased productivity through a reduction in violent crime.  Businessed flourish, housing prices increase, and the general standard of living is improved when police staffing is kept at a level to control violent crime.  The study statistically validated what the RAND report already had stated.  

In October 2012, Chief Jim McDonnell also stated during a televised interview that an increase in police staffing would have a positive effect in reducing violent crime.

On January 15, 2013, Mayor Foster delivered his State of the City address.  He praised the police department for continuing to lower violent crime while working with diminished resources and staffing.  On January 25, the Department released their crime stats from 2012.  It showed a decrease in violent crime but a significant increase in property crimes.  On January 27, LBReport.com published an opnion piece which challanged the interpreation of the Department's statistics and called for an increase to LBPD staffing.

On January 25, 2013, the New York Times published an article pointing out how the New York City Police Department had managed to reduce crime by increasing staffing, focusing on 'hot spots' and aggressively arresting offenders of lesser crimes.  The cumulative effect has not only reduced New York's prison population, but has saved the City approximately $1.5 Billion dollars annually.  The article also points out a growing national trend to spend more money on prisons then on police departments.  The change began in the 1980s and eventually led to higher crime.  The author argues that we should spend more on local police and less on prisions in order to secure a safer community.

In December 2013, the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) published it's study which showed that higher levels of police staffing help to reduce crime. The most recent credible research finds that each additional police officer reduces crime by 1.3 violent crimes and 4.2 property crimes per year. Other recent evidence estimates that the crime-reducing benefits of hiring an additional police officer exceed $300,000 per year, much more than the annual cost of an additional officer.