Police departments in Los Angeles, Denver, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis provide expensive security details for mayors and other city officials even as those mayors cut funding and positions in those departments.
The Los Angeles Police Department’s more than $1.8 billion budget initially was cut by $150 million in 2020 (a portion of the cut was restored in 2021), eliminating about 500 officer jobs.
“The LAPD is hemorrhaging officers, with more leaving the force than are joining it,” as the LA Times put it.
Now down to 9,100 officers, the city’s 2023-24 budget funds a $1.9 billion LAPD budget with 9,504 officers, aiming to increase the ranks by offering a $15,000 sign-on bonus for new hires and officers joining from other departments.
Then-Mayor Eric Garcetti oversaw the city as the police department shrank, and cut its budget by $150 million, but current Mayor Karen Bass pledges to build it back up again.
While the department was dwindling, Garcetti, the city attorney, and chief of police each received security details costing $17 million over six years.
In 2015, police officers providing security for the city officials cost $2.5 million; $2.8 million in 2016; $3.2 million in 2017; $3 million in 2018; $2.9 million in 2019; and $2.6 million in 2020.
Those figures were given to the government spending watchdog OpenTheBooks in June 2023 after it filed a California Public Records Act request in May 2021. Asked for updated records for 2021 and 2022, the LAPD said OpenTheBooks would have to file a new request.
Other cities also cut police budgets and jobs while keeping police as security details for city leaders.
Now, the police force is facing a 25% cut due to a city budget crisis that has Milwaukee facing bankruptcy. The massive cut to the police force could include cutting hundreds of positions, dissolving the traffic safety unit, removing the overnight shift at District 4, and dissolving District 6 altogether.
Between 2015 and 2020, Milwaukee spent $2.8 million giving its officials security details.
In Denver, police positions have been cut. About 200 positions were unfunded between the 2019-2020 budget and the following year. Although the 2023 budget funded 1,850 positions in the Denver Police Department—more than the previous two years—the number is lower than those before it.
Denver officials removed police from schools. Police were also removed from cases in which they responded to mental health calls, with health care workers responding instead. Between 2015 and 2020, Denver spent $4.2 million paying for its mayor’s security detail.
Similarly, Minneapolis, where George Floyd was killed while in police custody, cut $8 million from the police force in 2021 to launch a mental health team to respond to certain 911 calls. “A third of the police force has quit, retired, or gone on leave with few replacements,” the Minneapolis Post reported in December 2022.
Since 2020, hundreds of police officers have left the Minneapolis force, which shrunk from around 900 officers in 2020 to 560 in August 2022. Between 2015 and 2020, Minneapolis spent $865,000 paying for its mayor’s security detail.
This #WasteOfTheDay installment is brought to you by the forensic auditors at OpenTheBooks.com. This article was originally published by RealClearInvestigations and made available via RealClearWire.
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