The plan would likely raise the qualifying income level to allow new police officers and firefighters to participate. The Housing Department program has about $30 million in federal funding, said Council President Eric Garcetti, and it could draw more from a proposed $1 billion housing bond under consideration by city officials. Fewer details were available for the other motion, which directs officials to study the expansion of another program in which city workers can buy back some retirement credits from work with other government entities. The intent of the plan is to encourage qualified officers from other California cities to move to the LAPD by allowing them to keep the pension time they already have built up, Smith said. The LAPD has hired four people from other California agencies so far this fiscal year, and it hired 21 last year, according to the Personnel Department. While the Fire Department is on track to meeting its goal of 250 recruits this fiscal year, Chief William Bamattre said the incentives could help hire more women and minorities. The plans drew the qualified support of Police Protective League President Bob Baker. “We also need to address retention, however,” he said in a prepared statement. “No matter how much Los Angeles spends to entice officers to come here, other cities have their sights on LAPD officers and are also offering generous recruitment packages. “We have to give our current well-trained, experienced officers competitive salaries and benefits to keep them from leaving for other cities.” Dan Laidman, (213) [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Confounded by a shortage of qualified police recruits, city leaders unveiled a plan Tuesday to help new cops buy houses in Los Angeles and to pay the pension costs of officers poached from other cities. Even though the plans lack detail – including estimated costs at a time when the city faces a $300 million budget deficit – officials seized on it as a useful tool to fill the department’s ranks. “We are clearly struggling to meet the hiring goals of the department,” Los Angeles Police Department Chief William Bratton said. “It’s ironic that we have political support and actually have the money to grow the department, but we’re competing against a difficult job market.” In contrast to previous years, when the LAPD lacked the money to add officers, the city has allocated funds for 720 more cops this fiscal year. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant As of February, the LAPD had hired only 357 officers, according to the Personnel Department. Meanwhile, 209 officers left through January, most from retirement or resignation. “Recruitment has been very, very difficult as it has been for every agency in the country,” said William Scott DeYoung, a Personnel Department official, who blamed the problem on the low regional unemployment rate and stiff competition from neighboring cities. Councilman Greig Smith, who is introducing the two motions, said Los Angeles’ high housing prices are another factor. “They cannot afford to live in Los Angeles and they don’t want to commute 60 or 70 miles to work,” he said, citing the median Los Angeles home price of $575,000. Smith’s motion directs city officials to draft a plan that would expand a Housing Department program to provide homeownership assistance to people with moderate incomes.