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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

LAPD Must Keep Its Officers and Hire More

June 14, 2003

The Times almost got it right in "Murder and Politicking," its June 6 editorial on standing up to street gangs. The Los Angeles Police Protective League knows full well that lives -- of cops as well as residents -- are at stake and that the heroes The Times praises are police officers, who certainly deserve to be properly paid. The issue at hand is not whether we want more officers; we do and we have always said we do. The real question is, how do we get more police officers without losing the ones we have?

It is critical that the city encourage the retention of experienced officers through a competitive contract while also expanding the force through hiring new officers at a reasonable pace. While more police officers sounds better, it is critical that veteran and trained officers be properly compensated so that we retain them while we grow the force through new hires. If veteran officers leave, the residents will have a Police Department made up of less experienced replacements.

Robert Baker

President, L.A. Police Protective League

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In "A Thinner Blue Line" (Opinion, June 8), about the lack of support for the LAPD, Jervey Tervalon wrote about the City Council's refusal to hire more police officers. Shame on our City Council, and I do hope each member is removed from office at the next election. They seem to find money for all their pet projects but can't find it to provide for the safety of their constituents.

Right now it takes hours for the LAPD to respond to calls. A woman once reported that a man was taking the screws out of her security door so he could enter her home. By the time the police got there he had given up and left. Do City Council members believe they are safe behind their locked gates? We need the 320 officers just to make up for retirements and those on disability. We need those officers to be able to respond in a timely fashion. It is impossible for the LAPD to do its job properly if it does not get more officers.

Esther Stormer

San Pedro

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