SOUTH LOS ANGELES — Veteran detective Nathan Kouri is tasked with finding killers.

In November, L.A. surpassed 300 homicides for the first time in a decade. On average, about 40% of the city's homicides happen in South Bureau, where Kouri serves as supervisor.

What You Need To Know

  • L.A. surpassed 300 homicides in November for the first time in a decade

  • City Council is weighing more cuts to LAPD as it faces a roughly $700 million shortfall due to the pandemic

  • The homicide division has been protected from cuts, but it's grueling and expensive work

  • The Coalition for Responsible Development provides educational opportunities in South L.A. and does not support further cuts to the LAPD

While the LAPD faces potential budget cuts, the homicide division has been protected. It’s grueling and expensive work for the city — Kouri alone makes about $100,000 in overtime every year responding to scenes and staying late into the night.

“Every item of evidence, you want to be able to recreate that later on,” said Kouri.

As violent crime increases, Craig Lally, who serves as president of the officer's union known as the L.A. Police Protective League, is fighting to preserve officer jobs as the city faces a $700 million shortfall. As activists pressure City Council to ‘defund the police,’ Lally said officers are frustrated by backlash they feel is unwarranted.

“Moral is the worst I’ve seen in the 40 years I’ve been with this department,” said Lally.

This week, documents revealed where the $150 million already cut from LAPD’s budget is likely to go: One-third is going to the deficit and limiting furloughs in other departments, and the rest is a one-time investment in various projects that range from street sweeping to youth development.

Some of the money is earmarked for Mark Wilson’s nonprofit, The Coalition for Responsible Development, which provides job training and education in South L.A.

"We have more people that are not in school, we have more people that are not working, we have more people that are standing in line to receive food, and we have more people who are facing eviction," said Wilson. "And in every psychology and sociology class that I’ve attended, that’s a formula for a spike in violence in any city."

Wilson sees the LAPD as a partner in the community and is opposed to further cuts to their budget.

“It’s about pitting trees against police or services against police," he said. "It’s about, 'How do we create a Los Angeles that’s good for everyone?'"