Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn approved several steps Wednesday aimed at making it easier for the Los Angeles Police Department to rehire officers who have retired or quit to work for other law enforcement agencies.
The mayor, signing ordinances introduced by Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski, agreed to reduce the probationary period from 18 months to six months for those officers.
The new city laws also allow patrol officers who return to the LAPD to reclaim the rank they held when they left and will waive the training fees owed to the city when officers leave the department soon after they graduate from the academy.
In recent years, the city attorney's office has attempted to collect those fees--$60,000 for officers who complete the LAPD training and leave to join another department--either from officers or from the agencies that recruit them from the LAPD. Some agencies have agreed to pay all or part of that sum to get LAPD officers to join their departments.
The mayor's action Wednesday represents the city's latest effort to improve Police Department hiring and stem the depletion of the LAPD's ranks that dates back to administration of former Mayor Richard Riordan.
Hahn, working through the city's personnel department and the LAPD, has accelerated the hiring process, reducing the time from nearly a year to three months in many cases.
He also implemented a new work schedule, allowing officers to work fewer days a week with longer hours, fulfilling a campaign promise that helped him secure the endorsement of the Los Angeles Police Protective League during last year's mayoral election.
"Today we are sending a strong message to both police officers and the people of Los Angeles that we are looking at any and all options that will attract well-trained officers to our police force," Hahn said.
"We want to encourage as many former LAPD officers who left in good standing to return to a new LAPD, one that now offers a flexible work schedule, and an organization that will soon have a new chief of police."
Interim LAPD Chief Martin Pomeroy, who is heading the department while the Police Commission and the mayor search for a permanent chief, welcomed the move. The department, Pomeroy said, will benefit if it can bring back officers who are familiar with its training and procedures.
The mayor said he hopes to bring the department to a full force of 10,000 officers. But Riordan fell short of that same goal and, even though the exodus of officers has slowed in recent months, the LAPD continues to lose officers faster than it hires new ones.
The city has sent letters to about 400 former officers who would be eligible to return.
Of those, 62 have already submitted applications to be rehired, city officials say.