Without question, the coronavirus has impacted us as people, as a department and as a society. Thus, as we continue to adjust to our “new normal,” the business of progression is back on the table.
I entered into this position with plans and goals, yet throughout my dealings with the Department, the one consistent thing has been inconsistency. However, that seems to also be changing. Recently, an agreement was reached on a revised CCW policy, opening the door to members being able to obtain them without the cloud of L.A. County’s history of not issuing them as a backdrop.
By the time this magazine hits your mailbox, we would have met with the Board of Labor Relations and Compliance, and begun discussions regarding the review of the C/A position. I have spoken about this previously with you in print, via email and in person. The reason behind it was due to fielding questions from several of you asking, “Are C/As supposed to do this?” There were also a few use-of-force incidents involving C/As that had executives also beginning to question who does what and why. The C/As involved in those incidents were all justified and applied their techniques properly.
When discussing gas masks, I had a commander tell me, “You guys aren’t exposed to gas.” Another said, “You should negotiate for it in your contract.” My response was simpler — “take us off of the ERT.”
And Tasers. Oh yes. The strange dynamic of station jailers and court lockup being OK, but custody? Not so much.
Fast forward several months. We will sit and talk, although still socially distancing and through extended conference calls, about where we were, where we are and where we go from here.
And why? Because of the dedicated people who work the position, helped to evolve it, speak on its behalf and remember how it was initially deserved to have it looked at instead of “winging it” or covering holes under the “needs of the facility.”
I was directed by a colleague to look at an article that said that Riverside began to transition some of its custody positions to a sworn correctional position. Now that began with a thought, discussion and some forward-thinking.
LASD has always presented itself as a leader in law enforcement circles, setting trends and precedence. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel here — more like checking the brakes, getting an alignment and making sure the ride is safe.
Just like changing the uniforms to green, adding handcuffs and pepper spray when they realized there is “inmate contact,” and the advent of station jailers and court lockup, it all started with discussions. Nothing happens overnight, especially for us. But if you never pose the question, nothing happens at all.
In closing, I’ve missed going out and having the in-person talks and hearing of your experiences and opinions. As we adjust to life during COVID-19, so will I. Briefings will have to be more coordinated with your units and with fewer people, and we’ll also continue using masks, Zoom, the 621Strong Facebook page and our PPOA mobile app. And remember, we’re … no, I will not do that to you! LOL.
Take care, and stay safe.