City Controller Ron Galperin recommended a plan this week for hiring civilian workers to do more than 400 LAPD jobs so that sworn officers could be freed up to do police work.
Galperin said a recent audit performed by his office found that 621 positions in the Los Angeles Police Department could be done at a lower cost by civilian workers, who earn an average of $44,000 per year less in wages and benefits than sworn officers.
The jobs include managing social media accounts, maintaining equipment rooms and tracking documents.
Of the jobs, 458 are being performed by police officers who could be moved to the field, while the remaining jobs are being done by officers who are on permanent limited duty due to injuries, disabilities and administrative reasons, Galperin said.
“Our police should be doing more officer work and less office work,” he said. “Wisely spending our money on less expensive civilian employees to do administrative tasks frees up our force of professional police officers to keep our neighborhoods safe.”
By employing civilians in the 458 positions, the city could save about $53.6 million a year, or shave just under 4 percent of the department’s $1.4 billion budget in 2015-16, Galperin said.
The switch could also reduce officer overtime, which has doubled over five recent years to $93 million, he said.
The number of jobs that could be done by civilians, but are currently being performed by sworn officers, has actually gone up 14 percent since a similar audit in 2008 triggered a similar recommendation, according to Galperin.
He added that just one position—that of a police administrator in the department’s Compstat unit—had been changed from sworn to civilian since 2008.
The audit comes as both violent and property crimes have gone up for the first time in more than a decade, Galperin noted.
And with budget hearings beginning this week, Galperin urged the City Council to include more civilian staffing in the police budget next year.
He said he believes “there is broad agreement among stakeholders that the time to act is now.”
“I am confident that our audit is igniting the spark we need to get more civilians behind desks and more officers into our communities,” he said.
The audit, with the list of 621 LAPD positions that Galperin said could be done by civilian officers, is at www.lacontroller.org.