While we continue to stride forward in strengthening and advancing our classification, we also have to understand how we got here. Looking back gives perspective on why some things have occurred and how they have been held in place for so long. Thus, I have looked to the past for information that will be used to build the foundation for an improved and hopefully more inclusive future.
I have pulled the 2007 custody assistant survey. I wanted to see what was important to and bothersome for C/As at that time. What did C/As want then in comparison to now? What have we gained and what are we still striving to achieve?
I will use that information to potentially draft a new survey — one that will reflect our current experience within the Department, including custody, patrol, courts and administrative positions. It is no longer a question of direct inmate contact, injuries on duty or force incidents, but how frequently these events have occurred and the severity.
It has been a month since the rollout of collecting and processing packets. One of the initial stumbling blocks was several units not putting out anything via email or briefing to personnel. I reached out to several C/As from units in custody, patrol and courts, and they all said at the time they had seen nothing from their operations giving them direction.
I reached out to some of the operations of custody facilities and received mixed responses. One included, “We have not put anything out, but everyone knows to turn them in” … OK??
Another unit told personnel to “ask PPOA.” Yet the notice was to unit commanders. It’s not for PPOA to tell a facility how and who. If that’s the stance, then let that be the standing order for all concerns involving custody assistants, not just when someone does not want to take the handle to make things easier for their C/As.
I understood there were going to be questions and potential stumbling blocks. But that’s when you work collaboratively to improve the process, not against your employees because you don’t agree, understand or want the assignment. Too much work was put in on both sides to get this accomplished to let uninterested parties throw a wrench into the system.
Hopefully by the time you read this, most of the issues will be resolved and a more receiving and inclusive effort will be in place. Those who want a CCW will have their own work to put in, depending on whether they own a firearm at the time or not.
Getting to this point was challenging. Now the goal is to make it better. There is always time to reassess. There is a sign in the PPOA president’s office that says, “If the plan doesn’t work, then change the plan but never the goal.”
The goal has always been to fortify and unify our classification — and have the Department and the County recognize and openly invest in the individuals who hold that position.
As always, I thank you for your input and professionalism. Take care. Stay safe.