THE BLOG
06/13/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

LA City Council Committee Rightly Calls For LAPD Hiring Freeze

As the City of Los Angeles wrestles with layoffs and cutbacks, the LAPD is once again threatening the public with doom and gloom should, God forbid, there actually be some cutbacks within the police department.

Reductions in the department, combined with other cost cutting measures, warns LAPD Chief Charlie Beck in typical "the sky is falling" fashion, "would severely inhibit our ability to continue to reduce crime and keep this city safe," according to the Los Angeles Times.

Beck is reacting to a 3-1 vote of the City Council's Budget and Finance Committee, calling upon the LAPD to stop hiring new officers to replace the ones who resign or retire.

And none other than former LAPD chief turned City Councilman Bernard Parks voted for the police hiring freeze.

"If you keep hiring police officers, you have to lay off other folks," the Times quotes Parks as saying. "You can't have them both. So, if the council majority decides to keep hiring, the issue that's going to confront them is where is the money going to come from?"

Indeed. Where is the money going to come from?

For years, the LAPD -- along with other police departments -- has used the circular reasoning that, when crimes goes up, you need to expand the force to keep the public safe; and, when crime goes down, you need to expand the force to keep the crime rate down and the public safe.

That's right, no matter what happens, the LAPD basically argues that it always needs to hire more cops -- or, at least, stay at the 9,963 sworn officer strength.

The city is now facing a $222 million budget deficit.

The city controller, Wendy Greuel, has said Los Angeles faces its worst fiscal crisis in its recent history.

Everyone must share the burden. That includes the LAPD.

In voting for the hiring freeze, former chief Parks points out that the LAPD is actually expected to have some 22 more officers available than anticipated because of somewhat lower attrition rates.

That's great. And, that's enough.

If the Los Angeles City Council is serious about saving this city from fiscal disaster, it will heed the vote of its own Committee and endorse its actions recommending an LAPD hiring freeze.

Charles Feldman is a journalist, media consultant and co-author of the book, "No Time To Think-The Menace of Media Speed and the 24-hour News Cycle." He has covered police and politics in Los Angeles since 1995. He is a regular contributor of investigative reporting for KNX1070 Newsradio.