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LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Chief William Bratton called Thursday for hiring more than 3,000 new officers, saying his department's force of approximately 9,200 is insufficient to adequately patrol the nation's second-largest city.

"What I've learned most starkly since I've become chief is that this department has always been too small to carry out its mission in every neighborhood of the city consistently,'' Bratton, who celebrated his second anniversary with the department on Wednesday, told reporters.

Almost since he arrived in Los Angeles, Bratton has called for more officers to combat the city's crime, particularly its gang-related homicides. Last summer he told The Associated Press he needed at least 1,500 more officers and additional money for overtime to see the kind of reduction in crime that he presided over when he was New York City's police commissioner in the 1990s.

On Thursday he unveiled "A Plan of Action for The Los Angeles That Is and The Los Angeles That Could Be."

To succeed, the plan is largely dependent on Measure H.

The proposition on Tuesday's ballot would raise Los Angeles County's sales tax a half-cent, providing the Police Department with about $160 million, enough to hire another 1,260 officers.

If it passes, Bratton would then look into the possibility of hiring 2,040 more officers through other means.

Mayor James Hahn said he is hopeful the measure, which requires a two-third majority vote, will be approved.

When Bratton was in New York murders fell by 50 percent and serious felonies decreased by a third.
 
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