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Even before the Los Angeles riots in 1992, many at City Hall believed that the Los Angeles Police Department was too small to effectively patrol such a sprawling city. They noted that L.A. had fewer cops per capita than some other cities and that L.A.’s huge geography caused its own unique challenges.

So, for more than two decades, L.A. pushed to expand the department. The magic number was 10,000 officers. And in 2013, L.A. hit that number.

But by then, there were voices at City Hall questioning whether more expansion was needed and whether it might be time to trim the LAPD’s budget to preserve other city programs during tough economic times. Some also noted the huge drop in crime during that period, a dramatic difference from the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The LAPD budget, however, remained largely protected — even as Black Lives Matter and other groups pushed to cut funding.

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