Police Commissioner Robert Saltzman opened the meeting, emphasizing he and Commissioner Paula Madison had spent time with the Office of Operations (OO) and Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger in connection with the commission’s ongoing interest in OO developments. The police commission is especially concerned with issues relating back to the Consent Decree. Secondly, Commissioner Saltzman also was interested in knowing when the commission will get the second phase of the Dorner incident report.
Commissioner Steve Soboroff had some additional comments on the importance of not “backsliding” on any of the Consent Decree reforms. He went on to address a concern about the impact of a lack of cash overtime, which has not been fully restored to the Department. Consequently, he asked that a Department representative give a future presentation on the topic during a regular commission meeting. Commissioner Soboroff requested a second report for a future presentation regarding financial impacts on the Department’s recruitment. Specifically, his concern is about starting pay being much lower than it used to be and too low to attract enough qualified candidates (see addendum below for more information).
Assistant Chief Paysinger was sitting in for Chief Charlie Beck. Prior to going over current crime statistics, he responded to Commissioner Saltzman’s concern about the Dorner report and confirmed it was a high Department priority and in an “early draft form.” He said Chief Beck is also very much involved with the report and will be engaged in a review process, leading to a final draft. Chief Paysinger predicted the final draft will be completed within two to three weeks. He went on to remind everyone about the upcoming cadet leadership graduation ceremony, which is the largest graduating class in the Department’s history.
During Executive Director Richard Tefank’s report, he noted there would be no commission meeting on July 1, 2014.
The meeting continued with four regular agenda items. Item 8-A was a verbal presentation. Commissioner Saltzman wished to pull one item for discussion (Item 8-D) and moved that items 8-B and 8-C be approved. His move was seconded and the items were approved. The meeting continued with the verbal presentation (Item 8-A) led by the Foothill Division’s commanding officer and a Community Police Advisory Board (CPAB) representative. Among other things, topics included shared goals, symposiums and programs between CPAB and the division.
Discussion continued with Item 8-D, a Medal of Valor (MOV) recipient recommendation. Commissioner Soboroff asked for the entire nominating background information to be read. Commander Bill Murphy, assistant commanding officer of the LAPD Personnel and Training Bureau, read the entire MOV recommendation pertaining to Officer Donald Thompson of the Emergency Services Division. Officer Thompson saw a serious traffic accident on the freeway while off duty on Christmas Day 2013. A vehicle crashed into a sound barrier wall and then collided with a cement divider, after which it burst into flames. Officer Thompson, traveling in the opposite direction on the freeway when he saw what happened, stopped his car, climbed over the freeway dividers and rescued the driver just seconds before he would have perished. Without the slightest hesitation, the commission approved the recommendation for Officer Thompson to receive the Medal of Valor.
Comments – President Steve Soboroff
June 24, 2014
When the City of Los Angeles and the LAPD were released from the Consent Decree in May of last year, substantial responsibilities and authority were transferred to the LAPC. It is mandated that we do not slide backward with any of the reforms, and I believe if any of your commissioners have a concern that this may be the case, that it’s best to be proactive, thorough, and transparent.
During the past 9 1/2 months, your Commissioners have had the opportunity to visit each and every Divison, Bureau, and many special units of the Los Angeles Police Department. On the record, off the record, and sometimes anonymous letters, calls and communications have been encouraged via the IG and are regular occurrences.
I am convinced that if all LAPD employees were asked to prioritize their current issues as well as Our Commission Goals, that two stand above all others and, without committing to a relatively short term plan to fix, could have "consent decree" type consequences.
The first is: The impact of cash overtime not being fully restored to the Department. This commission needs to hear the history and the its wide-ranging ramifications on both the current and short-term operations and efficiency of the LAPD.
So, today I am requesting that a future public presentation from the Department at a Los Angeles Police Commission meeting be made when the appropriate Department staff are available, regarding OVERTIME.
We would like to hear all sides: arguments for and against. For example: How deployment is affected? What are the real financial costs of officers being paid not to, work, vs paying them overtime. Why does losing overtime present unique problems and downsides in LAPD) vs other city departments? I would like the report to include unedited input from the PPL and other stakeholders and certainly start with the premise that come every year from the budget makers across the street.
I believe that spending money to save money is prudent. That is why this department's current risk management and technology (EG on-officer cameras) focus will save millions most of which should go directly into restoring overtime to a level where we stop losing experienced officers at the current rate vs. back to the general fund.
Secondly, I am requesting a similar historical and ramification report on the impact on recruitment and retention of police officers since the disparity in pay for Police Officer I & II positions has been in effect. 16 years ago entry level officers made $55,000. With a cost of living increase, today that number would be $81,000. But in 2014 we pay about $46,000, a HUGE decrease! A few years ago a 20% pay cut was implemented to Police officers 1 and II with promises of restoration which simply has not materialized.
With early release of prisoners, new laws which make urban community policing more complicated than ever, and competition for Americas best cops (LAPD), these two issues rise to the top of everybody's list.
Let's address them openly and thoughtfully in complete detail. The future of our City depends on maintaining America's finest Police Department, moving ahead (without slippage) on the consent decree reforms and discussions like these must happen regularly.
I look forward to the "Department's verbal report and discussion relative to the impact of reduced cash overtime for Department personnel and pay disparity for Police Officers."