I am honored to be appointed to the PPOA Board of Directors. For the last few years, I have served as a delegate for PPOA and regularly represented us with the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) locally and at the state level, as well as nationally. One of my mentors in school, Rick Culley, Ph.D., once told me, “Change occurs when the pain of staying the same outweighs the pain of change.” For me, that time is now.
As with any regime change, this new Department administration has brought with it both positives and negatives. Morale is often anecdotally said to have improved, but for whom and at what cost? Deputies at the expense of all others? Maybe. Maybe not.
I’ve heard from many members who feel this administration has marginalized countless employees. For sworn personnel, a tone has been set that, if you don’t “check the boxes,” you do not have any potential for promotion in this Department. Even as I write this article, there are three members left in Band 1 for lieutenant who were passed over and not promoted. This may be telling of a much bigger issue on the horizon.
Deputies having interest in promoting to sergeant are shying away from testing because they feel their service and experience have been discounted. Sergeants and lieutenants, having earned their rank under an agreed-upon process with the Department and County of Los Angeles, are being devalued or viewed as not fit for their positions because they don’t “check the boxes.” This, while people in positions we know are essential and valuable to the Department are being vacated because they don’t “check the boxes.”
So where does this leave us? We have members, both sergeants and lieutenants, who worked tirelessly in their careers, serving the Department, getting them to today. Some were asked, while others were “voluntold,” to take assignments, often vacating a line position before reaching the new administration’s professed line requirements. We have members promoted to the rank of lieutenant after promoting as a custody sergeant who were made to sign a five-year commitment contract never having gone to patrol as a sergeant and are patrol-trained as a deputy. What happens with them? What about custody track sergeants who never went to patrol at all? Where is their path to a future that doesn’t involve demotion? What about those who do “check the boxes” as lieutenants and yet were never allowed to interview for captain, but instead were given a “Dear John” letter thanking them for applying with no reason for rejection? Where is the true equal opportunity said to be out there in this new captains process?
The aforementioned is what motivated me to join the PPOA Board of Directors. It’s simply not right. I hope that, during my time on the PPOA Board, I can be a voice for our members on today’s issues. I hope the Sheriff and his administration will work together with PPOA to address these issues for the mutual benefit of our members and the Department’s employees.
Lastly, one person cannot invalidate a career of service. Whether you are a tenured lieutenant, sergeant, custody assistant, security officer, law enforcement technician, crime analyst or otherwise represented by PPOA or not, we serve the people of Los Angeles County and the public trust. Remember that. I thank you for the opportunity to serve.