A measure to raise the Los Angeles County sales tax to put 5,000 more police officers and sheriff’s deputies on the streets fell short of the two-thirds majority it needed to pass, the Los Angeles Times reports. The county’s top law enforcement officers, Sheriff Lee Baca and LAPD Chief William Bratton, acknowledged last night that Measure A appeared headed for defeat. “I’m sad for the people and I’m sad for the men and women who work in law enforcement,” Baca said. “We haven’t fixed anything when it comes to the crime-fighting needs of Los Angeles County.”
Baca and Bratton knew they would have a tough fight persuading voters to boost the sales tax from 8.25 percent to 8.75 percent. Baca and Bratton sought to persuade voters that, although the crime rate had fallen sharply from its peak in 1991, there was still too much crime in Los Angeles County and still too few police officers to combat it. They promised to cut crime in half if Measure A passed. Los Angeles has long been one of the most under-policed major U.S. cities, with 9,099 officers to serve 3.8 million residents. The ratio of officers to residents is greater in most other cities, including New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia. Chicago, for example, has 13,500 officers for 2.9 million residents.