INGLEWOOD, Calif. – The Inglewood Police Department is aggressively recruiting to fill positions as the department’s workforce continues to dwindle.
Over the last three years, there has been a mass exodus of officers, particularly those from specialized units, which leaves the department strapped to address crime.
In the interim, Inglewood taxpayers are spending tens of millions of dollars annually for mutual-aid agreements, with neighboring law enforcement agencies, to provide services, particularly for large-scale events in the city’s sports and entertainment district.
Less police give residents the impression they are less safe, which the Inglewood mayor has previously addressed.
As a former police chief, Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts, Jr., was cited in an NPR piece, indicating Butts felt “that cutting funding for departments fails to address the root problem, and would mean that people in local communities are less safe.”
On the website lawofficer.com they explore how Inglewood is addressing replenishing its force through incentives to drive applicants to Inglewood but also point out that COVID vaccination mandates could hinder those efforts.
“The signing bonus of $40k is paid in two parts. Part 1 is paid upon swearing in. Part 2 is paid upon successfully completing probation (one year). However, if you are sworn in before July 1st, you’ll receive an additional 10k per our MOU [Memorandum Of Understanding]. That’s 50k in a year.”
That, on top of a base salary range of $87,658. – $106,960 per year. Granted, the cost of living in exorbitantly taxed California is different than in many other states. Nonetheless, one can imagine the exodus of cops from Cali amounts to law enforcement agencies there having to sweeten the pot of compensation, etc.
One thing I saw on the Inglewood Police Department website is that they still require all employees to have a full complement of Covid vaccinations, for employment consideration. Interpretively, that can be a detractor, and a cost of a different kind.
As a mere case study, Inglewood PD communicated its intent to rebuild its police force, saying, “For various reasons, most of our specialized units are depleted. We believe these units will be back up and revitalized in 2-4 years. These units include Special Enforcement Team, Motors, Traffic, FTO, Mental Health Unit, Transit Team, Community Resource Officers, Vice, Narcotics, and SWAT.”
The mayor has repeatedly stated that these departments have not been disbanded, however, to say the units will be “back up” and “revitalized” in 2-4 years contradicts his statements.
The department has suffered a major loss in the long-term Police Chief Mark Fronterotta being hospitalized and recovering after spending a few days in the intensive care unit. It is unknown if he plans on returning.
Acting Police Chief Cpt. Cardell Hurt takes the reins as recruitment has become the city’s top priority.
The Los Angeles Police Department has openly suggested rehiring retirees to shore up vacancies while they recruit, but in a post-George Floyd era, recruitment is a challenge facing agencies nationwide.
Should the department not get back to staffing levels, as outlined in the Inglewood City Charter, will the city be forced to consider dissolving the department and contracting with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department?