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EDITORIAL SHOW US THE MONEY LET'S SEE IF THE COMPRESSED LAPD WORKWEEK LIVES UP TO HAHN'S HYPE.

IT took much of his political capital, but Mayor James Hahn has succeeded in fulfilling his campaign promise to the Police Protective League and getting rank-and-file LAPD officers a shortened workweek.

His hand-picked Police Commission gave tentative approval to the plan last week, and the schedule will take effect in two divisions by Nov. 20.

So Hahn has delivered on an important campaign promise - a precondition to the PPL's endorsement - and his relentless effort to make good on it shows the stuff he's made of.

Now that he's been true to his word to a special interest, we expect he will devote the same passion to prove he can be true to his word to the people of Los Angeles.

Hahn has repeatedly assured the public that the flexible schedule isn't just good for cops, it's also good for the people they're paid to protect. He's insisted that it won't increase officer fatigue or run up overtime costs. He's argued strenuously that the shortened workweek will boost department morale and alleviate the department's problems with officer retention and recruitment.

There were skeptics, including the police chief, this newspaper and some members of the City Council. The council even commissioned a study on the feasibility of a compressed workweek that was due to arrive in November.

But Hahn didn't feel like waiting for the study, so confident was he that the flexible schedule would be the great redeemer of the Los Angeles Police Department.

He pushed forward and got his way. Now, in the months and years ahead, he'll have the chance to prove that he was right all along.

Hahn can start by issuing monthly reports on what sort of results the compressed workweek is achieving. Every month, he should release all the relevant data - how many cops have left the department, how many new cops have joined, average LAPD response times, arrest rates, the effect on payroll costs and so on.

He should also provide reasonable benchmarks - before the 3-12 or 4-10 schedules are in place - so the public can measure his program's success. If the benchmarks are attained, Hahn's critics (ourselves included) will happily eat crow in a safer, better Los Angeles.

And if the compressed workweek doesn't live up to its billing, that will be a sign to go back to the drawing board, and do whatever it takes to maximize the efficiency and the effectiveness of the LAPD.

If he's serious about public safety, Hahn will be just as persistent about evaluating the flexible schedule as he was about implementing it.

We eagerly await the results.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Oct 25, 2001
Words:430
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