Over the objections of Councilman and former Police Chief Bernard C. Parks, the Los Angeles City Council voted 14 to 1 Wednesday to approve a three-year contract for the city's 9,000 police officers.
Officers will receive a 2% raise this year, 3% more next year and a 4% raise in 2005-06. The new contract also gives Police Chief William J. Bratton more freedom to move detectives from one division to another and to ask them to work at night.
"This is a fair contract," police union President Bob Baker said.
Officials said the raises would cost the city an additional $20 million this fiscal year, and would bring total police salaries to about $725 million a year.
Parks said he does not believe the city, already grappling with trimming $50 million from its $5.1-billion budget because of cuts in the state budget, can afford the added expense. He noted that many police departments in California are not offering raises this year because of the bleak financial situation.
"It's not about whether you think they deserve it," Parks said. "It's whether you have the money.... What are you going to cut in order to make it happen?"
His colleagues disagreed.
"Angelenos are asking for this City Council to increase the police presence," Councilman Martin Ludlow said. "If we want to get this department up to the level of staffing that is adequate, we have got to get to the heart of morale. At the end of the day, it is a pocketbook issue."
Over the next three years, the raises will cost the city about $80 million, said Bill Fujioka, the city's chief financial officer.