Photo by Al Seib / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
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A police union leader for Los Angeles police officers told members to leave the city for a jurisdiction that understands their value and doesn't have city council members who hate them in a now-deleted Facebook post seen by the L.A. Times.
Jerretta Sandoz, vice president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, commented on the problems surrounding being a police officer in Los Angeles as the union struggled to reach an agreement on a new salary with the city in June 2023. The post was allegedly written a few weeks before the LAPD's contract with the city expired on June 30.
“Go somewhere that respects the work you do and you don’t have to beg for a great contract,” she wrote, according to the L.A. Times. “Go somewhere that has a city council or city manager that openly acknowledges the great work you do, go somewhere that doesn’t have Two or more City Council members who hate you (no exaggeration).”
The department is steadily losing officers, down by nearly 1,000 since 2019, and it is expected to lose another 500 officers through the end of 2023 and beginning of 2024 due to retirements and resignations, according to the L.A. Times. That would bring the number of cops down from over 10,000 to around 8,600.
Union hostility appears to come from poor contract negotiations, disdain from within the city council, and even the ban on the Thin Blue Line flag implemented by the police chief in early 2023.
LAPD Police Chief Michael Moore said that it was "unfortunate that extremist groups have hijacked the use of the Thin Blue Line flag to symbolize their undemocratic, racist and bigoted views."
Sandoz spoke to the L.A. Times and said her comments were "part of a larger online thread about officers who stated they already decided to leave the LAPD." She added, “And I stand by every word I wrote to those who decided, or are strongly considering leaving the LAPD for another agency.”
In a follow-up email, she said that she hoped that the “criteria I advise officers to evaluate when they are choosing to work for another agency is, in many respects, the same criteria officers are using to determine if they are going to stay with the LAPD.”
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass had reportedly set a hiring target to get policing numbers back up to 9,500. "I know that that is ambitious, but I think it needs to happen," she said during a budget announcement, according to the Daily Mail.
That number will reportedly fall short however if academy numbers stay the same. The L.A. Times reported that on average, the last 10 police academy classes have had just 30 graduating officers.
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