The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) will stop responding to traffic collisions, and will downsize its homicide and robbery divisions, thanks to new budget cuts championed by Mayor Eric Garcetti in response to demands to “defund the police.”
The Los Angeles Times, in an article titled, “LAPD to dramatically downsize special units, focus on patrol as budget cut shrinks force,” reported Saturday:
The Los Angeles Police Department in coming months will downsize its specialized units and stop responding in person to traffic collisions and other minor incidents as part of a broad reorganization aimed at preserving patrol and community engagement functions amid new fiscal constraints.
Although specific figures weren’t available Friday, the reshuffling will reduce the size of the vaunted but troubled Metropolitan Division, as well as cut the air support, robbery and homicide and gang and narcotics divisions.
[The cuts] also come as homicides and shootings soar to levels not seen in the city in a decade, ratcheting up concerns in some communities that the changes could cost lives. Homicides are up by about 25% this year, compared with last, putting the city on pace to surpass 300 killings for the first time since 2009.
More broadly, the cuts represent a new trajectory for one of the largest and most scrutinized police agencies in the country — and reflect how fully it has been forced to bend to the “Defund Police” movement, which garnered attention and momentum this summer when activists and other protesters rallied in massive numbers in the streets and barraged local elected officials with demands in person and during virtual Zoom meetings.
In June, with riots still raging in the city, Garcetti promised to cut the police budget by up to $150 million — more than 10% of the total — as part of an effort to redistribute the funds to “communities of color” through various organizations and projects.