LAPD ranks rebound after COVID surge; chief says city is Super Bowl ready
The ranks of the Los Angeles Police Department have rebounded after a massive surge in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, with the number of officers out sick or quarantining dropping from 1,333 last week to just 362 this week.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore provided the new figures to the civilian Police Commission on Tuesday morning, saying the recovery is a welcome shift ahead of major deployments planned for the upcoming Super Bowl.
At the peak of the Omicron variant surge last month, the LAPD saw more than 600 new cases in a single week and more than 1,000 over a two-week period.
Those numbers have decreased significantly, with 290 new coronavirus cases in the past week, Moore said. Of those, 132 were among vaccinated officers. Vaccinated individuals have experienced less severe symptoms than unvaccinated people, for the most part.
About 83% of the LAPD is now vaccinated. Other officers are awaiting responses to their requests for religious or medical exemptions from the vaccination mandate for city employees.
With Super Bowl events just a few weeks away, COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc with the LAPD as well as the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department.
The Rams face the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood.
Moore said he hopes people come out to celebrate the historic game — in L.A. with the hometown team playing — and that the LAPD is prepared to help them do so safely and responsibly.
Moore said the department has been planning for the Super Bowl for the past two years with a host of partners, including the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and other local police agencies, as well as the NFL and federal law enforcement partners.
During the run-up to the Super Bowl, the LAPD will have a 24-hour command center in operation, with teams of officers monitoring official event locations, unofficial parties, hotels where teams and referees are staying and other locations where fans are expected to gather.
Patrols in other parts of the city will also remain at 100% of their normal staffing, Moore said.
Moore said the LAPD has the ability to surge quickly to have more than 9,000 of its more than 9,500 officers on duty at a time, but that he does not expect such surges to be necessary.
“We’ll have thousands of additional personnel available over the course of this 10-day event,” Moore said.
The LAPD deployed officers in tactical gear after the Lakers’ NBA championship win and the Dodgers’ World Series win in 2020, when celebratory crowds grew out of control, stores were damaged and fires were started. Officers shot people in those crowds with projectiles — wounding some severely and drawing intense scrutiny and lawsuits against the city alleging excessive police force.
Moore said Rams fans were well behaved after the team’s recent NFC championship game win to get to the Super Bowl, and that he hopes crowds act similarly during the Super Bowl.
Special deployments for the Super Bowl begin Thursday, Moore said.
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