Breaking: LAPD patrol numbers inflated to hide staffing deficiencies

The Los Angeles Police Department was embroiled in scandal Friday as it was revealed that officers deliberately inflated numbers when reporting to supervisors how many cops patrolled city streets, the Los Angeles Times reported.

According to a report released by Los Angeles Police Commission Inspector General Alex Bustamonte on Wednesday and obtained by Guns.com, an investigation into the department’s deployment of patrols began in March when officials “became aware” of at least five departments and 21 patrol divisions over-reported their patrol figures.

The inaccuracies occurred during multiple shifts at different times of day and involved officers of various ranks, the report said.

“This has been going on for years,” Officer Mark Cronin, a director in the Police Protective League, told the Times. “It is more prevalent in some areas, but it’s happening throughout the city. … There is this intentional misperception being put out there that there are more officers on the street than are actually there.”

Captains are under a great deal of pressure and are held accountable to their patrol numbers, regardless of staffing needs, one official told the Times.   

Though officials did not analyze factors such as response time, that was a reason for the department’s implementation of a patrol-tracking computer program almost 30 years ago. A study conducted in 1988 showed that police response times weren’t equal across all parts of Los Angeles and recommended the department institute a so-called 7/40 mandate, which would require officers to respond to all emergency calls within seven minutes and devote 40 percent of their time on duty to proactive policing.    

Station supervisors are required input the number of vehicles deployed into the program — called Patrol Plan — which is a database for tracking LAPD’s patrol car deployment levels. The system tracks statistics for each division and bureau, which are then emailed to senior officers twice a day.

To ensure future patrols remain on track, officials said they will perform surprise inspections that will examine duty logs and other records tracking assignments, days off, training days and other irregularities in the patrol-related duties of officers.

No names have been released and it is unclear whether those involved will receive any kind of punishment for the rampant inflation of patrol figures.

An LAPD spokesperson declined a Guns.com request for comment, citing next week’s police commission meeting as a determining factor in how the department will respond to media inquires.

The inspector’s report will go before the police commission on Tuesday for approval. It is unclear whether any other decision will be reached, but Guns.com will be present at the meeting to report any developments.