While many who participated in “protests” in Los Angeles over the last few weeks are probably being paid to stay home and not work, thousands of Los Angeles Police Department officers have put in more than a hundred hours of tactical alert overtime each and are now being told they won’t be paid for it.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore sent an email June 12 to “Department Personnel,” a copy of which was obtained by RedState, informing them that “During this extraordinary time…the Department has expended more than $40 million in overtime expenses,” exceeding the budgetary reserve, and that “as of June 7, 2020…compensation for overtime shall be in the form of time at the appropriate rate.”
The Department first issued a tactical alert May 27, when a group of protesters closed down the 101 Freeway in downtown Los Angeles. Moore ordered a full mobilization of the department’s sworn members on June 1 to quell the surging violence and looting, and since that time officers have worked up to 36-hour shifts with no regular days off and all vacation days canceled. Many officers have racked up more than 100 hours of overtime since May 27.
In the memo Moore attempts to show appreciation for what the men and women of his department have sacrificed but falls far short and isn’t entirely truthful. The memo begins:
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….
Moore then quickly lowers the boom, essentially telling officers, “Whoops, we racked up a $40 million bill that we can’t pay, so please, have some comp time. We’ll do you a solid, though, and remove the cap on comp time accrual.”
A casual reader might infer that overtime costs were the result of both the coronavirus pandemic and the “protests,” but the overwhelming majority of the overtime bill wasn’t incurred due to implementing the Safer at Home order. According to multiple LAPD sources who spoke to RedState on condition of anonymity, overtime strictly related to Safer at Home was rare and most officers still kept normal hours and were able to take scheduled vacations. That changed the evening of May 27.
Moore’s memo continues:
Additionally, all non-essential overtime is canceled. This includes, but is not limited to overtime related to administrative duties, Cannabis Taskforces, Human Trafficking Taskforces, and Vision Zero Taskforces.
So, because some entitled and lazy criminals decided they wanted to embark on their version of The Purge, victims of human trafficking are s**t out of luck? Infuriating. Also, “essential” overtime is not canceled, meaning these officers will be required to continue working overtime ensuring that the ongoing protests don’t turn violent and with full knowledge that they’re not going to be paid for it. How demoralizing is that? Not to mention the fact that an already understaffed department will owe its officers weeks of paid time off. Who will “protect and serve” then? Eric Garcetti, waving a white flag while he’s down on one knee? Give me a break.
Understandably, LAPD officers and their families are not happy with this development. Over the last few weeks they’ve all been under enormous amounts of stress due to the physical danger the officers were placed in by “pandering” politicians and are physically and mentally exhausted. One bright spot was the knowledge that they’d at least have a little extra cash in their pockets to either pay off bills or take a well-deserved vacation. One (fairly new) LAPD spouse told RedState:
“We were supposed to get married at the beginning of April, but that was postponed due to coronavirus. Then when the riots happened it seemed like there was always going to be something, so we ran to Vegas the first day he could get off and got married. In our minds, the silver lining to the stress and uncertainty of the last few weeks was that with the overtime we could pay some bills and wedding expenses.”
Another officer, who spoke anonymously due to fear of retribution, told RedState that morale is extremely low because they don’t feel supported by LAPD leadership or by city officials.
“From everything we’ve seen, leadership is capitulating to political pressure. Command staff attempted to tell us to “take a knee” before the protesters. Since that is a political statement and our job is not political, most if not all refused. And even though it was an idiotic tactical move, command staff did not act on tips that the initial protests would turn violent and deploy officers to the scene to keep the protests from getting out of hand because Mayor Garcetti didn’t want them to. Their incompetence at the beginning of this is what caused a great deal of the overtime and now they’re leaving us – and the community – high and dry.”
In the midst of all of this, Mayor Garcetti announced that he’d canceled a planned 7 percent budget increase for LAPD and is seeking up to $150 million in further cuts. Here’s an idea, Eric. How about paying your officers what you owe them first and ensuring that the department has the resources to keep the city safe?