L.A. Mayor Karen Bass is a person of action, and she proved it today. The mayor’s office announced that it has struck a deal on a four-year contract with the LAPD officers of the L.A. Police Protective League (LAPPL) that will raise starting salaries and benefits and provide incentives to stem the mass exodus of officers that the city has experienced in recent years.
The L.A. Airport Peace Officers Association (LAAPOA) congratulates the mayor and LAPPL in achieving a historic contract that will improve officer recruitment and encourage police retention in an environment where all City police departments have seen a substantial and dangerous decline in sworn officers over the course of the last three years.
Now that Mayor Bass has achieved an agreement with the largest of L.A.’s police departments, it is LAAPOA’s hope that she turns her attention to the smaller, specialized forces, such as LAXPD, L.A. Park Rangers and the L.A. Municipal Police officers within LAPD, which were formally L.A. General Services Police. LAAPOA has received a tentative agreement that we were unable to ratify with our members due to the proposed salary scales by the City Administrative Officer’s (CAO) staff being inconsistent with those of previously negotiated terms that would create an extreme wage gap to those proposed to LAPD officers. Since the L.A. World Airports (LAWA) contracts with the City to have LAPD officers augment LAXPD at LAX, it would be a ridiculous practice to continue providing higher pay and benefits for contracted law enforcement to work alongside our members at the same location.
We believe Mayor Bass when she says, “My No.1 job is to keep Angelenos safe.” She is one politician who provides more than lip service in backing her police, which is why she must direct LAWA to wisely use its non-general fund and non-taxpayer, proprietary funds to finish what her predecessor, Eric Garcetti, started and bring parity between LAXPD and LAPD officers.
“LAXPD is woefully understaffed, even while the airport is experiencing its highest ever traffic volume, exponentially expanding runways and airport facilities, bringing the new automated people mover train to the airport and preparing for the world spotlight when L.A. hosts the upcoming World Cup and Olympics,” LAAPOA President Marshall McClain says.
“As majority-minority police force, LAXPD has always worked toward a diverse, productive and effective organization. Losing officers and seeing our ranks diminish has been difficult during these difficult times, when diverse perspectives in policing are urgently needed,” McClain continues. “To not have pay and benefits parity with our counterparts at LAPD, when the hiring and training standards are identical for all L.A. peace officers, could only be construed as the City choosing winners and losers — basically ‘separate, separate, but equal’ — and makes no common or moral sense, especially when the cost doesn’t come from the city’s general fund.
“LAAPOA looks at the LAPPL deal as a positive one and hopes that the mayor’s leadership will pave the way for remaining specialized agencies and the CAO to proceed in finishing our contracts so that we can move on and build better, stronger and well-staffed law enforcement agencies throughout the city, and so that we can be prepared for all the opportunities and challenges that are certain to come to the City of L.A. in the near future,” McClain concludes.
In addition to LAAPOA’s communication with the CAO’s office on this matter, the general manager of the L.A. Department of Recreation and Parks has also shown his support by sending a letter to the CAO requesting that his park rangers’ and supervisors’ salaries and benefits be on par with the other law enforcement agencies in the city.