Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke has agreed to pay for security provided by Los Angeles police officers at football games, ending weeks of confusion over who should pick up the bill for police patrols for L.A.'s renascent NFL franchise.
Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the deal Tuesday, saying Kroenke was "stepping up and doing the right thing" and that the Rams would pay police costs not only for the rest of the season but for preseason games that have already been played. He said the team would also pay for other city workers whose services are incurred at football games, such as firefighters and trash collectors.
A Rams spokeswoman confirmed the agreement in an email.
The union representing LAPD officers — which first called attention to the Rams' use of city resources last month, as the team was preparing for exhibition games — welcomed the announcement. Union officials asserted that police officers were being removed from neighborhood patrols and detective work to provide security at Rams games, and demanded that the team instead pay overtime to off-duty officers as security guards.
"Crime in Los Angeles is skyrocketing and we do not have the staffing to safely patrol our neighborhoods as it is," the Los Angeles Police Protective League said in a statement released Tuesday. "Neighborhood safety must be our priority above NFL games and other special events."
The L.A. City Council had also urged Kroenke to pay for police officers in a letter sent last month. Since then, City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana has been negotiating with Rams officials over a new security deal.
"I am grateful the Rams organization is responding fully to our concerns, and to the mayor for effectively securing this agreement to ensure that the LAPD can go back to focusing on our collective goal of reducing crime in Los Angeles," Councilman Mitch O'Farrell said in a statement Tuesday.
Garcetti said Tuesday that the original arrangement for security at Rams games — with the team paying for security officers inside the stadium while the city paid for officers outside — mirrored that for the USC Trojans. He said one reason the new deal with the Rams had taken weeks to work out was that the college was worried that it too might be required to pay for a police presence at football games.
"We can work on that long-term," Garcetti said.
The city is also being sued by a resident and a former city council member over its security arrangement with the Rams. It was not immediately clear what would become of that lawsuit after Tuesday's announcement.