On July 31, 2017, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced Los Angeles as the sole candidate for the 2028 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, officially known as the Games of the XXXIV Olympiad. On August 11, 2017, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to approve the bid, and on September 13, 2017, Los Angeles was formally awarded the 2028 Games by the IOC. This will be the third time (1932, 1984) that Los Angeles has hosted the Summer Olympics, making it the first North American city and the third worldwide (London and Paris) to host the games three times. Los Angeles will hold the proud distinction of hosting three of the five Summer Olympic Games (St. Louis and Atlanta) that have occurred on United States’ soil.
In April 2019, the estimated cost of the games of the XXXIV Olympiad (LA28) was approximately $6.88 billion, with all the money coming from the private sector, although the City of Los Angeles and state of California have agreed to serve as a “financial backstop.”
The federal government will designate the Olympics as a national special security event (NSSE) in which the U.S. Secret Service heads a single chain of command. The Feds will also cover the cost of security (no other funding for the games), with an agreement reportedly signed by the L.A. Organizing Committee and Department of Homeland Security in February 2020.
Approximately one month later, in March 2020, Los Angeles County would begin to experience the devastation of a deadly global pandemic that continues to this day. The May 25 death of George Floyd while being arrested by Minneapolis police officers resulted in massive demonstrations and protests (despite COVID-19) across the nation. This movement, or as one of our Board of Supervisors called, “a moment in history,” put unprecedented political pressure on elected officials throughout the country to enact police reform and to defund or seriously slash law enforcement agencies’ budgets, including the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles Police Department.
The Los Angeles City Council voted on July 1, 2020, with Mayor Garcetti’s strong support, to cut $150 million out of the LAPD’s $1.8 billion operating budget with plans to reinvest the public safety funds in marginalized communities. The cuts are estimated to reduce the LAPD from 10,009 officers to 9,757 by July 1, 2021, the fewest in over a decade.
What a far cry from a September 18, 2017, “JOIN LAPD” Facebook post that stated, in part, “Be part of the action! The L.A. Olympics are coming. Become an LAPD Officer and you could be part of history!” Below the post is a picture of a female soccer player with the tagline, “‘CHOOSE your FUTURE’ L.A. OLYMPICS 2028.”
Not to be politically less correct than their City-elected colleagues, on August 4, 2020, a charter amendment (later titled Measure J) was put on the November 2020 ballot through a 4–1 vote of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. County Supervisors Sheila Kuehl, Mark Ridley-Thomas, Hilda Solis and Janice Hahn voted infavor of the amendment. Supervisor Kathryn Barger voted against the amendment.
Measure J (passed 57%–43%) requires that annually, beginning on July 1, 2021, with full implementation achieved by June 30, 2024, that 10% of locally generated, unrestricted County money — estimated between $360 million and $900 million — be spent on a variety of social services, including housing, mental health treatment and investments in communities disproportionally harmed by racism.
The County will be prohibited from using these set-aside monies on prisons, jails or law enforcement agencies. The exception to reducing this allocation requirement is only by a four-fifths vote in the event of a fiscal emergency as declared by the Board of Supervisors, which threatens the County’s ability to fund mandated programs.
The predicted devastation that Measure J will bring as it pertains to the Sheriff’s ability to continue to recruit deputy sheriffs is still unknown. This critically important function to hire is not only needed to fill normal attrition vacancies throughout the Department, but to also supplement the LASD that, in seven short years, will be tasked with working with national, state and local law enforcement to provide a safe and secure 2028 Summer Olympics.
To his credit, Sheriff Villanueva made it one of his highest priorities since taking office on December 3, 2018, to hire deputies, and the Department was successful in hiring 1,100 deputies. However, due to recent devastating budget curtailments, a lack of productive and professional dialogue between the Board of Supervisors and the Sheriff, as well as what the amendment to the County Charter might bring, hiring deputy sheriffs has seen a drastic reduction, as is sadly evident on the LASD Job Opportunities website that reads, “Deputy Sheriff Trainee (Temporarily Suspended).”
It is extremely concerning that the two largest law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles are not presently being funded to hire deputy sheriffs and police officers for the 2028 Summer Olympics. This 17-day mega event of global proportion, which will span across 700 square miles of the southland, must have enough trained peace officers who professionally stand at the ready to ensure safety and security to all Olympic attendees as the world watches.