At the end of July, the Los Angeles Police Department dropped to having below 9,000 officers, marking its smallest force since the 1990s. The Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) is blaming anti-police rhetoric, among other factors.
LAPPL spokesperson Tom Saggau told Fox News Digital, "They're leaving to either go work in a different agency or just to leave the profession completely ... Los Angeles costs a lot to afford a home, pay rent, commute times; but also, some of the anti-police rhetoric wears on you."
"We have a difficulty because we're pulling officers from specialized gang assignments and high-crime areas and drug operations because you've got to fill patrol to be able to respond to those 911 calls, so this lack of officers has a trickle-down effect, and it's a city-wide impact," Saggau said.
"So, what happens is, victims of crime and businesses that maybe have been broken into and things of that nature, it just takes much, much longer for them to seek justice," he added.
The Department has a goal of maintaining a force above 9,500 officers, but currently only has 29 recruits currently going through the academy. Chief Michel Moore told the Board of Police Commissioners in July that, their "effort is to hire 60 every four weeks.”
In an attempt to deal with other hindrances to hiring and retaining officers, such as a high cost of living, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass reached a tentative agreement to increase officer base salary by 3 percent annually and an immediate 11 percent raise.
In a statement, Bass said, "My No. 1 job is to keep Angelenos safe." She continued, "Like many major cities across America, our police department is enduring a hiring and retention crisis, so we are taking critical action. In April, I proposed a budget to address concerns within the Los Angeles Police Department and to provide investments to hire more police officers, expedite the hiring process and improve retention."
Anti-police sentiments have been on the rise for the last few years since the death of George Floyd led to riots across the country. In October, the National Fraternal Order of Police called for the end of the "culture of lawlessness," blaming the rhetoric after 12 officers were shot in the same week.
Its statement said: "The spewing of anti-police rhetoric by some political and media figures as well as the failed policies of rogue prosecutors and judges are placing our officers in greater danger. This culture of lawlessness must stop!"
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