The first few months of 2020 have been more productive than the previous few. Meetings with the Department about matters of our concern have taken place and have been well received by both sides, leading to follow-ups that will either hopefully resolve or bring about more in-depth dialogue about how our classification has evolved, where the missteps are and what changes can be made.
A January meeting to discuss CCWs and the MPP was positive. Potential language concerns were addressed while also identifying and addressing storage concerns at custody facilities and County buildings. We have agreed to a follow-up that will hopefully finalize the policy aspect, and an agreement in general. This will allow us to go forward with any potential process.
These discussions have been laborious and your patience in this matter has been appreciated.
Overtime and drafting continue to be major issues at some units. That prompted me to ask the Department for an account of our numbers at each unit. Is this a case of being short unit personnel or short items countywide?
Surprisingly, the total custody assistant vacancies are not the issue. It seems to be the distribution of personnel that has impacted units, some more so than others.
Government mandates, programs and political agendas have led to the creation of specialized units catering to post–inmate release programs. But are there numbers to confirm that creating more programs is better than reducing or capping current programs? Is good money being thrown after bad at the expense of overworked personnel?
Instead of taking money and hiring overtime behind vacancies, open the C/A exam and fill the vacancies. With each program the Department accepts, it should ask for an increase in C/A items to accompany them. Our diehard “overtimers” may disagree, yet those continually drafted and being pre-drafted on RDOs would beg to differ. I was told as a young C/A that overtime was a luxury and not to settle into a lifestyle based on it.
Information was provided to Sheriff Villanueva in early January by the Board of Labor Relations and Compliance. The Sheriff requested more details comparing the jobs that C/As and deputies do in custody. Station jailers were also included in this review. The review was reportedly with the Undersheriff and a second presentation is pending.
A disturbing, systemic trend of how some station jail supervisors address their jailers has to stop. We cannot curse at inmates without a complaint or consequence, so it shouldn’t happen to a jailer either.
Reports of station supervisors’ language and tone toward jailers have increased. Statements of “I don’t care about the jail” and more colorful adjectives should not be tolerated. As long as you make your checks, pass inspection and don’t have a body during your shift, that’s all that matters to some. I know that’s a bit severe, but some jailers would agree with that assessment.
I continue to field questions and requests about what should be applied to our position in regard to service time, education, equipment and expanding the role. All of these matters have been forwarded to the Department in some form, and their importance has not been diminished in the pursuit of recognition, respect and solidarity among our members.
In the weeks to come, I will be visiting units during briefings. I look to focus on PM and EM shifts this round, but may also stay to speak with AMs as time and unit duties permit.
I appreciate your patience during this initiative to turn around the perception and deployment of this position, from an afterthought used to supplement sworn to a recognized partnership within custody, patrol and courts.
If you have any questions, please contact me directly. Rumors lead to misunderstandings, misinterpretations, confusion, frustration and dissection. With everything we do, those are things that we don’t need.
I recently saw this saying, and I feel it applies: “You can’t force someone to respect you. But you can refuse to be disrespected.”