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LAPD spent $40 million during protests, coronavirus; officer overtime pay is curtailed

LAPD officers arrive to arrest George Floyd protesters in Los Angeles.
LAPD officers arrive to arrest George Floyd protesters in Los Angeles.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles Police Department spent more than $40 million in overtime handling protests over the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd as well as dealing with fallout from the coronavirus.

Chief Michel Moore said in a memorandum that despite a multibillion budget, the LAPD is so cash-strapped that any overtime earned from June 7 onward will be paid out in compensation time.

With the entire department of nearly 10,000 officers working every day for a week since the mobilization May 30, the LAPD burned through more than it allotted even for emergencies.

“I recognize that you have worked tirelessly these past couple weeks during the protests and prior to that during the Safer At Home order. Your dedication and commitment have not gone unnoticed. During this extraordinary time, including the full mobilization of our sworn members, the Department has expended more than $40 million dollars in overtime expenses,” Moore wrote Thursday. “This amount far exceeds any budgetary reserve to address unusual occurrences.

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“Additionally, all non-essential overtime is canceled,” said Moore, adding that this includes work on task forces for cannabis and human trafficking. Work by officers protecting the homeless shelters, he wrote, will be compensated in the form of time.

The LAPD said in a statement that it “offers cash overtime to officers when it is available, and when those allotted amounts are depleted that compensation is offered in time. The COVID-19 pandemic and full mobilization of the Department depleted that cash reserve before the end of the fiscal year, and we transitioned to comp time last week.”

It is not the first time the department has run out of overtime money when protests or other special incidents have led to large deployments. The department, however, relies on a certain amount of those hours to function.

Some work by the LAPD relies on overtime, and that is how it provides services to the buses and subways.

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Moore said the overtime for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority will continue and be compensated in the form of time until the department is reimbursed by MTA. At that time, employees will have the option to convert the related hours into cash.

Moore also directed supervisors to make every effort to ensure “essential overtime” for court appearances and that shift overruns be curtailed.

The moves come as the City Council is scheduled Tuesday to take up a request to cut the LAPD’s budget by $100 million to $150 million, and put the money into other programs. Neither Mayor Eric Garcetti nor the council has explained how those reductions would be achieved. The council’s Budget and Finance Committee voted unanimously Monday to move forward with the proposal, which won’t be finalized until later this month.

An existing LAPD contract is slated to pay officers a 4.8% pay raise in the coming fiscal year that begins July 1. As part of a three-year contract, officers are also getting an education bonus that boosts pay for officers with college degrees at a cost of an additional $41 million. That amounts to an extra $290 every two weeks for officers with bachelor’s degrees.


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