The number of officers employed by the Los Angeles Police Department has dropped below 9,000, a staffing level unseen since the administration of former Mayor Richard Riordan in the 1990s, NBC News reports. City officials said 8,967 officers were employed as of July 30, far below Mayor Karen Bass’ goal of 9,500 and about 300 below what the current budget allows, roughly 9,300 officers. Since then, another class has graduated from the police academy — bringing the total to 8,995 — though it will be several months before the newest officers complete field training. A new academy class began last week at less than half of capacity.
“Unfortunately that academy class will only have 29 recruits,” Chief Michel Moore told the Board of Police Commissioners. “Our effort is to hire 60 every four weeks.” Officers are voting this week on whether to accept a four-year employment contract that promises raises of nearly 20% for most officers and a higher starting salary for recruits. The Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union that represents most officers, said it hoped that the pay increases would help draw in more candidates. The police department grew to more than 9,000 officers under Riordan when he and the City Council were united in efforts to try to grow it to at least 10,000 officers.