The city of Los Angeles hires more police officers which placed the number of officers at over 10,000, the first time L.A. has had that many sworn officers in its history.
Chicago is down over 2,000 police officers and leads the nation in homicides and shootings.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, second from right, smile before the news conference Monday announcing the new staffing level at the Police Department.
For the first time in the city's history, Los Angeles' police force now exceeds 10,000 officers, city officials said Monday.
Appearing with LAPD Chief Charlie Beck to discuss the continued drop in crime last year, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the department is budgeted for 10,023 officers, up from the 9,963 authorized over the last three years, during a deep budget crisis.
The staffing increase took effect Jan. 1, when 60 sworn officers moved into the LAPD from the General Services Department, which patrols parks, libraries and other municipal buildings, said Villaraigosa spokesman Peter Sanders. Those officers will continue to patrol city facilities, budget officials said.
Some questioned the significance of the staffing milestone, since the overall number of sworn officers employed by the city hasn't grown.
"It's an increase for show," said Kevin James, a candidate for mayor in the March 5 election who has questioned Villaraigosa's LAPD hiring goals. "The mayor really wanted to get to 10,000 one way or the other before he left office, and this was the way he could do it under the current budget constraints."
Los Angeles experienced a 10.5% decrease in gang crime and an 8.2% drop in violent crime last year, compared with 2011. The city had the lowest number of violent crimes per capita of any major city, including New York and Chicago, Villaraigosa said.