Looking for ways to add to its recruitment ranks, the Los Angeles Police Department wants to make it easier for new high school graduates and servicemen and women leaving the military to join the department. It is proposing to offer them civilian jobs while they wait to clear background checks or to meet age requirements.
The latest ideas for boosting police recruitment were outlined by the command staff at Tuesday's Police Commission meeting amid concerns that the department's Deferred Retirement Option Plan will force the departure of hundreds of veteran officers, beginning July 1, the start of the next fiscal year.
Police Chief William J. Bratton said 298 officers who are part of the plan will be forced to retire during the next year. He nonetheless expects the department to grow by 210 officers during that time, although that is fewer than what the department wants.
One proposal would address the year or more it takes for the city to complete the officer hiring process, including the background check.
People leaving the military are not always willing to wait to take a police job if there is a gap of a year or more before they can start, officials said.
As a result, the city is considering giving military veterans civilian Police Department jobs so they can earn pay and benefits as they wait for Police Academy acceptance, said Thom Brennan, commanding officer of the LAPD's Personnel Division.
A similar approach is being considered for recent high school graduates, he said. A recruit must be 20 years, 6 months old to enter the academy and 21 to become a police officer.