The Los Angeles Police Department is in danger of staffing shortages unless the union agrees to overtime rules, according to Police Chief Charlie Beck.
The LAPD would likely send home thousands of officers unless the union, which represents rank-and-file officers, agrees to extend a deal on overtime benefits.
Officers are rarely paid overtime wages due to the city's financial crisis.
Instead, LAPD created a policy to have officers stop working after 250 hours of extra work so that they do not have to be forced to take time off after 400 hours of overtime.
Under the previous overtime rules, officers received cash once they accrued 96 hours of overtime. If the union doesn't grant an extension on the overtime policy or if the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) can't agree on a new contract, LAPD's overtime rules will return to the 96-hour limit.
LAPD plans to send officers home after 30 hours, so as not to reach the 96 hour limit. 1 out of 10 officers is expected to reach that level of overtime in 2.5 months, according to Cmd. Rick Jacobs, Charlie Beck's chief of staff.
What this means is staff shortage throughout Los Angeles. To plan for the inadequate staffing, Beck wrote in a statement Wednesday about changes that are to come. He wrote As of today, no agreement has been reached with the LAPPL. As a result, I am obligated to make plans for changes that I do not necessarily want to make. At this point, it is only my intention to prepare you for what lies ahead.
Beck plans to reassign officers to fill crucial positions, including 200 officers to be sent back to patrol.
It is not my desire to reassign officers out of their current assignments, but it is the only way the Department can maintain the level of front-line resources that are essential for the protection of the public's safety, Beck wrote.
Officers to be reassigned will receive advanced notice by mid-June, as Beck said he can't wait around for the negotiation to be finalized.