The Los Angeles Police Department will remove 150 officers from patrol and other assignments to deal with the fallout from a state-mandated plan to reduce prison overcrowding, a move that Police Chief Charlie Beck said will slow response times to 911 calls, reports the Los Angeles Times. Beck and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa joined to criticize the state’s attempt to relieve severe prison overcrowding, saying it has unfairly saddled police with a burden that the department does not have the resources to address.
They warned that it poses a risk to public safety and threatens to reverse the falling crime rates Los Angeles has experienced in the last decade. The plan, which went into effect Saturday, shifts responsibility for thousands of inmates and ex-convicts from state to county agencies. The Los Angeles police and other local departments will have to assume a leading role alongside the county’s probation officers in keeping tabs on an escalating number of ex-convicts who otherwise would have been under the watch of the state’s parole department or behind bars, Beck said. By year’s end, Los Angeles is expected to be tracking 4,200 people, according to figures released by the mayor’s office.