A new era, a new Sheriff. However, what does that mean for Custody Division, our station jailers, our partners in courts and Custody Assistants overall? That is just a portion of the story as recently elected Sheriff Luna learns the nuances of managing the largest jail and de facto mental institution in the nation.
There is a learning curve, and PPOA looks to be part of the process, including Custody Assistants, their duties both perceived and actual, and their placement, as well as their present and future utilization. We are looking to immediately get back to having our meetings with the Assistant Sheriff of Custody. As of this writing, that is promoted Chief Sergio Aloma.
The recent graduation of Class #107 resulted in 50 new C/As entering our rank, preceded by a class of more than 40. This is helpful in the immediate term as units and their mandatory overtime sit at eight in some places, with people still being drafted with 72–80 hours. However, with retirements, those moving onto DST, terminations and those who have simply left the Department altogether, we are not keeping up with attrition. Those examples can be attributed to stress, burnout and frustration.
Units are still expected to keep up with their Title 15 mandates and inmate programs while running short-staffed. The Department routinely creates programs and pulls personnel for staffing while further crippling an already depleted line staff. And when the funding for these programs is gone or redirected, the documentation is nonexistent, leaving PPOA to fight for the proper placement of personnel now returning to the line. CARP continues, leaving some personnel to meet both the mandates of CARPing and overtime.
The recent removal of an A.A. degree requirement has created another conundrum. Those individuals who became C/As because of this are now processing to Deputy while simultaneously going through a C/A Academy.
There needs to be a stabilization of the process and incentives for C/As to join, maintain and flourish in that capacity. Not everyone wants to be or, for whatever circumstances, can be a deputy sheriff. So invest. Because we’re here behind the radio car runs, disturbances and the medical emergencies.
I look forward to face-to-face meetings, legal discussions and historical fact-finding to improve our position, both administratively and legislatively.
I hope the new year arrives with blessings for you and your families. May 2023 be rewarding and prosperous for you. Stay safe.