CHICAGO (NewsNation Now)— Around 2,500 personnel from the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department are out sick or quarantining amid the latest COVID-19 surge. The LAPD chief says the city is looking into contingency plans for staffing events that week due to the high number of call-outs.
But some officials say there are other issues to worry about besides call-outs.
“If you’re planning to come to the Superbowl, they’re talking about handing out N-95 masks at the Super Bowl for everybody that attends when really they need to start handing out bulletproof vests because that’s the only thing that’s going to keep them safe.”
Jamie McBride, the head of the Los Angeles police officers’ union, said the city’s crime rate is another issue that people should be aware of when it comes to attending the big game.
“We’re becoming a reactive police department instead of a proactive police department,” McBride said during his appearance Wednesday on “The Donlon Report.” “Meaning if there are crimes committed, we can’t prevent them. All we can do is show up and take a report. And unfortunately, that’s what we’re seeing.”
McBride said there could be several ways the police department decides to handle the staffing shortage.
The response could be “no days off for officers. They’re going to be looking at longer than 12-hour shifts. We need to call in our reserve officers, if that’s even possible to call them that many on short notice.”
Around 83 percent of the LAPD is vaccinated, but the police department is seeing a spike in breakthrough cases. The large increase in cases comes a week after Los Angeles surpassed 2 million COVID-19 cases throughout the pandemic.
McBride blames the lack of staffing due to the slow testing results from the department.
“It’s taking sometimes up to 10 days to get those positive results back. Which means that officer is out there … dealing with … the community, fellow officers, and that’s how we’re getting so many people sick now is because this company is not coming back fast enough with the results.”
McBride said the union has been asking for an investigation into the testing company, but nothing has come of it.
U.S. Rep. Mike Garcia (R-CA) believes that the city’s crime rate along with the number of fans coming into town is only going to create more problems for the department.
“This is a confluence of a perfect storm for criminals right now that we’re witnessing,” Garcia said, adding that the city should be looking to fund the police, instead of defunding them.
“They’re [the city] facing the challenges with COVID as well that the deputies are anywhere from 70 to 100 hours of overtime each month. And the irony of all this is that there are still politicians or president or governor or local elected who are still pushing this defund the police movement, even though we see the tangible results of this.”
Garcia compared the crime rate in L.A. to living in Gotham City. Last year, the number of murders in Los Angeles was up nearly 12% over 2020.
Crime is also up from last year, nearly 4% compared to 2020.
In the first few weeks of this year, 26 homicides have already been reported. That’s a rate of about one murder per day, on average, according to the LAPD.
McBride said Los Angeles County Sheriff Alejandro Villanueva is doing his job when it comes to cleaning up the city, but he said it’s hard for the department to keep making strides when they lack funding. President Joe Biden also took aim at the city, saying that Americans are safer in Kiev than LA.
“It’s embarrassing,” McBride said. “I’m proud that we were able to help secure a seven-figure grant for our local LA County Sheriff’s (office) as we are fighting this illegal activity in this rising crime rate, but we need every elected official to do the same thing. And the federal level, the state level, and the county level, all need to chip in here and fix this problem. It’s all levels of government.”