“Putting more officers on the street is my top priority, so we are going to push the envelope further.” The money for the new hires will come from the $127 million generated from monthly trash fees, which jumped from $11 to $18 last year and will go to $28 by 2010. No new taxes will be requested in the $6.7 billion spending plan, which is scheduled for release April 20, he said. Villaraigosa had hoped to hire 650 officers this year, but an aggressive recruitment effort will result in 750 new hires by June 30, he said. Hiring 780 more next year will bring the LAPD up to 9,780 officers by June 2008. “We did this despite the naysayers and the critics who said it couldn’t be done,” Villaraigosa said, adding that he believes the LAPD will have 10,000 officers – his long-stated goal – by 2009 and 10,349 cops the next year. “We will still be under-policed, but we will be putting more officers on the street,” Villaraigosa said. Bratton, the former chief of the Boston and New York police departments, has long complained that L.A. has fewer officers for its population than any other major city. The LAPD has never had more than 9,737 – a level it reached in 1997 – and now has 9,432. The LAPD’s hiring effort has been bolstered by a number of incentives, including $1,000 bonuses for those who refer recruits to the agency. The City Council is considering a program that would offer signing bonuses of $5,000 to recruits and up to $10,000 for experienced officers who transfer to the LAPD. In order to put more officers on patrol while recruits are being trained, Villaraigosa said, he hopes to increase the amount of money available to the LAPD for overtime. Budget director Sally Choi said details of the budget are still being finalized. The LAPD’s current budget is $1.3 billion – the most of any city department – with $76 million earmarked for overtime pay. Much of the overtime budget is now used to pay officers for court appearances and for special details. City Councilmen Dennis Zine, himself a retired LAPD sergeant, and Bill Rosendahl joined Villaraigosa at the news conference to support his plans. “This mayor has followed through on his word,” Rosendahl said. “I was worried last year when we imposed the trash fee on residents that the money would (not) be used as we said it would. This mayor made sure we used the money as we promised, for more police.” Zine said the mayor’s program reflects public demand. “I know this mayor won’t rest until we are the safest big city in the nation,” Zine said. [email protected] (213) 978-0390160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! With the LAPD topping its hiring goal for this year, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Thursday that he wants to hire 780 officers next year, giving the city 10,000 cops by 2009. Previewing the budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, Villaraigosa predicted that the Los Angeles Police Department will gain about 300 officers, with the rest filling vacancies created by retirements or attrition. The officers will be used to staff new stations proposed for the northwest San Fernando Valley and Mid-City areas and to beef up patrols citywide. “Our Police Department has made remarkable progress over the past five years under the leadership of Chief Bill Bratton,” Villaraigosa said at a news conference at the LAPD’s training academy in Westchester. “Violent crime is down and Los Angeles residents are safer than they have been in 50 years. But we need to do more.
Remember Software on Steam? No? That’s because the initiative didn’t quite explode in popularity like Valve would’ve hoped. The most notable additions to Steam’s Software library are the countless GameMaker and RPG Maker iterations that flood the category. Now, Valve is moving its efforts to a new non-gaming initiative, Steam Music, but it’s being handled differently than Steam Software. Probably for the better.Instead of having a store stuffed full of music you can purchase on Steam, Valve’s new program will scrape your local music libraries and add them to one cohesive library within Steam. Borrowing a tactic from a plethora of iOS and Android games, Steam Music aims to let you listen to your own music while you game through Steam, rather than having to listen to a game’s audio tracks on which some poor guy worked too hard to just be bulldozed by your Panic! At the Disco discography.Steam Music will offer the same comforts of any music player, such as allowing you to organize your library using various filters, and make and manage playlists. It won’t — for now, at least — have a store where you can purchase music. You’re still stuck with Amazon or iTunes.Seeing as how the Software initiative didn’t explode and become the number one App Store on the internet, Valve appears to be making a smart decision by using the music you already have to populate Steam’s library. Whenever you’re stuck on public transportation or in the bathroom and peruse iOS and Android game reviews out of morbid curiosity, one of the most popular complaints is that the game doesn’t allow you to listen to your own music while playing.Valve is now mollifying that complaint and giving us the option, although why anyone would want to disrupt the carefully crafted atmosphere of their favorite game by listening to The Used or Nicki Minaj is beyond us.Valve will launch a beta of the service for Steam Big Picture mode and SteamOS (which are essentially the same thing) soon. To sign up, you can join the group at Steam Music’s community page.