(September 7, 2005, initial post) -- Standing in uniform at the City Council podium, LB Police Chief Anthony Batts reiterated his call for more police officers, presented four models for increases with respective costs...and indicated senior city management asked him to present funding "options" for Council consideration (all of which are tax increases).
Presenting PowerPoint data and video of LB attractions juxtaposed with crime headlines with his trademark oratory, Chief Batts cited data based on a police computer program that detailed four models and their costs:
- (1) 37 more officers: $7.1 million/yr.
(continuing to deploy three two-officer units in current hottest beats 4, 5 and 7 (out of 24 beats citywide, 10 are current "focus beats"), covering two of three watches (darkness hours) with 33% officer-initiated time (crime repression time) instead of current roughly 15% officer-initiated time
- (2) 127 more officers: $25.5 million/yr.
Covering all 10 current "focus beats" ("most problematic or dysfunctional beats") during two of three watches (darkness hours)
- (3) 538 officers: $40 million/yr.
Covering current 10 "focus beats" using Int'l Ass'n of Chiefs of Police recommendation of 40% officer-initiated time
- (4) 309 more officers: $54 million/year
Includes growth beyond patrol [motor units/DUI, airport security, port security, permanent staffing for task force to deal with crime spikes, counter-terrorism, canine unit, and enhanced mental evaluation team]
"How do we pay for them?" Chief Batts asked rhetorically. "As Chief, I usually come to you with resource requirements. In this report however, I was asked to present some options for consideration so I've worked with Mike Killebrew [senior city financial management] and his staff to identify several. However you choose to fund any additional sworn positions, there are several considerations I'd like you to pay attention to. (1) The funding source should be predictable, not a one-time revenue. (2) The funding should be specifically dedicated for police staffing. (3) The funding source should have growth potential to allow us to add more officers in the future to keep up with the demand. (4) Above all, there should be minimal impact on existing city services."
Chief Batts said the options were previously presented to the Council's "Budget Oversight Committee" (Richardson (chair), Kell (vice chair), Reyes Uranga):
- 1. 1/2 cent sales tax (approx. $23 million/yr.). "If you recall, the City [City Council] was one of the first cities in the County that came in in support of Measure A" [Nov. 2004 Countywide proposed half-cent sales tax, failed to receive 2/3 voter approval needed, Chief Batts said it fared "fairly well" in LB.]
- 2. Oil production tax, doubling per barrel tax rate (approx. $4.4 million/yr.)
- 3. Assessment parcel tax of $25 per parcel (approx. $2.8-4.3 million/yr.)
- 4. Utility User Tax Re-Increase (each 1% increase in UUT rate approx. $7.5-8.0 million/yr.)
"In summary, 1,319 shootings, 164 murders, 5,000 gang members, 775 sex registrants is unacceptable. And I think if we had 309 officers, and that's not what I'm advocating at this point, but if we had those numbers, I would guarantee you we would not be dealing with some of the issues that we're dealing with today, and I don't hesitate in saying that," Chief Batts said.
Multiple Councilmembers supported Chief Batts' call for additional officers...and some indicated they would support tax increases to pay for them. A number of audience speakers came echoed these views. LBReport.com will be posting salient transcript excerpts shortly; check back with this page, click reload or refresh on your browser for updated text.
Months ago, the Council voted to authorize city management to retain a consultant (at taxpayer expense) to conduct polling and advise City Hall on how best to persuade the public to approve a tax increase(s).
Chief Batts acknowledged that a 1994 City Auditor-City Management "Strategic Plan" for LBPD proposed a staffing model that would have resulted in 1,023 sworn officers by FY 2000 (six years ago)...which he noted involved an average growth rate of 38 officers per year. "In 2000, we budgeted for 861 sworn officers, which was 162 officers less than the number proposed in the Strategic Plan," Chief Batts said. He added, "Today, five years later, we have 975 budgeted sworn officers, which is still 48 [officers] below the 2000 goal."
[Note: LBPD has separately acknowledged that of the 975 budgeted officers, about 40 are contracted for non-neighborhood duties (about 29 for Port and Airport post-9/11 tasks, and 12 more for LBUSD and LBCC duties, putting LBPD's neighborhood budgeted level closer to roughly 935. By LBReport.com's calculations, if LB City Councils from 1996 to 2000 had budgeted the officers for taxpayers as indicated in LBPD's "Strategic Plan" and continued doing so at the rate of 38 officers per year through 2006, LB would today have roughly 1,251 budgeted officers (1,023 + 228) today...the top model Chief Batts indicated.]
For the past two years, LB City Hall has added 10 neighborhood officers per year using federal taxpayer assistance (a US DOJ COPS grant). In FY 06, City Hall management proposes adding the final 10 officers (from the 30 officer federal grant)...and proposes adding 5 more officers in the coming year from LB's General Fund.
This is an initial post with additional material in preparation. Check back with this page, click reload or refresh on your browser for updated text.