The race for California’s top cop focuses on abortion, gun control and crime, and on police morale — the lowest in 10 years, according to a report released Wednesday by the Los Angeles Police Commission and the LA Times.
The report comes more than a year and a half after Mayor Eric Garcetti took office and just as the Los Angeles Police Officers Association was going on strike, which triggered a public relations and budget crisis.
Garcetti, a Democrat, has vowed to restore morale, the Times said, though the officers union, which represents nearly 1,000 members, has vowed to oppose Garcetti’s police reforms.
The police report comes as the California Constitution is taking on new meaning in Sacramento, with Democrats and Republicans jockeying to see which way to take on what is likely to become the most contentious issue on the 2018 agenda.
The state’s top law enforcement officer is in the middle of a race with the California attorney general over whether he and his police union are being effective in fighting crime.
Garcetti’s campaign criticized the report, saying it shows that the mayor lacks the “fire power” needed to fight crime.
But the attorney general is being criticized for his role in hiring police officers after the department’s former chief quit in frustration and the agency has been flooded by officers who can’t be trained.
‘The mayor’s plan is no plan’
If Garcetti does get voted into office, his top priorities will be to fix the city’s budget crisis and restore police staffing.
A police commission report released late last month found that the city’s crime rate continued to rise in 2017, that the crime rate in some neighborhoods was rising faster than it was elsewhere and that the city’s crime rate was higher than the statewide average.
The LAPD is the second-largest law enforcement agency in the United States and by far the busiest.
The report said there was no indication the increase in crime was connected to new policies taken after the 2013 shooting of an unarmed black man by police.
“The mayor’s plan is no plan,” the commission,