Tuesday, October 23, 2001
Council Panel Stalls Police Benefits Survey in Favor of Other Efforts
By KIMBERLY EDDS, Staff Writer
Recent recruitment efforts for the Los Angeles Police Department must be given a chance to work before the city spends any more money studying the issue, a council committee said yesterday as it rejected a department request to compare its benefits package withother cities.
The Public Safety Committee voted 4-0 to put the comparison study on hold for at least another six months, given that just two weeks ago the City Council approved hiring new employees to help with the department for recruitment efforts. The new employees will cost the city an additional $269,000 annually.
“It seems to me that this is not the time to be spending money on a comparative study,” committee chair Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski said. “Let’s get ourselves situated with what we’ve committed ourselves to and see where we are.”
The LAPD has struggled with recruitment and retention issues, losing an average of 50 officers a month to other law enforcement agencies.
Police Commission Executive Director Joe Gunn said the panel has put recruitment and retention of officers at the top of its agenda and he “was confident the commission will instruct the department to look at this sooner than in six months.”
The commission approved a department-conducted study in August how other law enforcement agencies offerings compare to the LAPD.
“We just want to see what differences there are between agencies and if there are significant differences, see what we can do to correct these differences,” Gunn said.
“We’re just interested in what works,” he said.
LAPD Cmdr. Betty Kelepecz asked the committee to have the city engage in the study rather than letting the department handle it, saying it would be helpful for the department to have an unbiased look at where it stands compared to the benefit offerings of other agencies.
“We do not have an understanding of how we actually compare in terms of benefits package, the real cost of our package as compared to other agencies,” Kelepecz said.
The study would look at the salary, benefits, pension, longevity pay, and tuition reimbursement offered by other departments compared to those offered by the LAPD, Kelepecz said.
Councilman Dennis Zine, a former police officer, suggested the newly approved recruitment positions could conduct the study since the offerings of law enforcement agencies aren’t a secret.
Kelepecz agreed that conducting a study now may be “premature,” but that the information collected may prove useful in the future.
“They are being fiscally prudent,” Kelepecz said after the meeting. “They have committed a significant number of resources to recruitment and they want to see if they work.”
Miscikowski ordered that the City Administrative Officer take a look at the information his office has on other departments and their benefits packages.
The committee will take another look at the study proposal in six months.
Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company