If you ask just about anybody working for the Sheriff’s Department, they will likely tell you that the job can be a thankless one. That’s not a complaint as much as it is a reality for personnel at agencies everywhere. Whether your uniform is tan, white, green or blue, it is rare to receive public acknowledgement for a job well done. But when it happens, I think we all need to take a moment to help shine the spotlight on a deserving colleague.
On September 19, Security Officer Benny Carbajal had the honor of being selected to receive the Chief’s Award at LASD’s 13th Annual Professional Staff Day. Officer Carbajal is assigned to Homicide Bureau and is a 14-year Department veteran. He was originally hired as a security assistant before working his way up to security officer. His work ethic naturally reflects well on all LASD security personnel. I want to congratulate Officer Carbajal on his recent award and, more importantly, thank him for his dedication.
Speaking of congratulations, please join me in welcoming our newest academy graduates from Security Officer Class #55! I was honored to spend time with Class #55 on a few occasions during their academy training and was excited to watch them graduate last month. Officer Raymond Lamas was chosen as top recruit for the class, so I want to give him a special shout-out for his hard work and leadership.
I also want to share some thoughts expressed to me by one of the graduates, Officer Ortega Hernandez:
“These past five weeks have been the best weeks of my life. I’m forever humbled and grateful for everything. They pushed me to limits I didn’t even know I was capable of and made me a better person. I learned a lot about my abilities, and the AOT staff made my experience one of a kind with their passion, personal experiences and stories of their time on patrol. Thank you, AOT: You have made me into a better man and shown me that the sky is the limit on my abilities. God bless you all.”
Congratulations, Officer Hernandez, and thank you for sharing your thoughts with us!
Believe it or not, we are not done with congratulations for Sheriff’s security officers. Many of you are familiar with the story of our partner, Officer Gerardo Fabian, and his life-saving actions in 2016. Well, I am pleased to report that he will receive a Valor Award from the Sheriff’s Department on October 17.
If you have not yet watched the video PPOA produced about Officer Fabian’s heroic actions, please Google “PPOA SSO Fabian.” I plan to have more about Officer Fabian’s Valor Award in the next issue of Star & Shield. Meanwhile, if you run into Officer Fabian at any point while at work, make sure to thank him for representing all of us with professionalism.
Lastly, I would like to bring PPOA members up to date on the issue of vacation schedules. Last month, I joined PPOA President Tab Rhodes, Vice President Jim Blankenship, Executive Director Wayne Quint and Labor Representative Venise Wallace for a meeting with Employee Relations representatives, Captain Steinbrenner and her staff to review and discuss vacation selection procedures affecting PPOA members. Ultimately, it was determined that the previously agreed-upon procedures for 2019 vacation selections will remain the same for 2020 sign-ups. It took several meetings to reach this agreement, but it is definitely a welcome development. Please note that there are still issues with employees being denied time off due to co-workers being on vacation, so it looks like this will require a meeting with Contract Law. I will keep you up to date on this as it progresses.