Despite deepening worries about the region’s economy and a growing municipal budget deficit, Los Angeles city leaders Tuesday refused to back away from a Police Department buildup even if it means sacrificing other basic services, reports the city’s Times. The City Council decided against reducing the size of next month’s Los Angeles Police Department Academy class, an action that would have saved nearly $700,000 this budget year and more than $3 million next year.
The additional officers will contribute to an aggressive expansion of the LAPD, pushing beyond Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s goal of 226 new officers this year. But it also will add to the cost of a department that already takes one-quarter of the city’s $4.4-billion general fund budget. “The message we are sending today: We are going to continue hiring officers,” Councilwoman Wendy Greuel said during a budget hearing. She later issued a letter with two other council members calling any slowdown of the police expansion “an absolute last resort.”