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Officers Asked Not to Retire During 'War'

July 15, 1988|LAURIE BECKLUND | Times Staff Writer

In an unusual personal appeal, Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl F. Gates issued a bulletin Thursday asking all employees considering retirement to stay on the job to help "wage war against gangs and drugs."

At the end of 1987, there were 1,868 LAPD officers with at least 20 years of experience, the earliest point at which officers can retire, according to Cmdr. William Booth, Police Department spokesman. Many eligible officers select retirement at that point, Booth said, earning 40% of their salaries and being able to take on new jobs as well. By 25 years, he said, three-fourths have retired.

"No matter what your present rank or area of assignment, your retirement will ultimately create an opening in the patrol division that will take six months of training to fill, and when the vacancy is filled, it will be with an inexperienced and unseasoned employee," Gates said in one of 15 or 20 such "bulletins" he issues to the department a year.

"I would never want to discourage you from fulfilling a goal or a dream," he added, addressing employees with retirement plans. But "if you are willing to stay and continue on with us in this endeavor to rid the city of narcotics and gang violence, we would love to have you stay--at least for a while longer."

Booth said the department has no idea how many of the department's 7,400 officers plan to retire this year because they do not have to give advance notice. July is a common month for retirements because it marks a change in the fiscal year.

The generation of officers the bulletin was aimed at--veteran patrol officers, line sergeants and detectives--are mostly in their 40s, Booth said.

"They know the street people in their district, and they know how to interpret crime patterns. . . . You just can't replace that overnight."

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