As the predicted surge in COVID-19 cases affects the Southern California counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura, PPOA emphasizes the practice and policies of wearing masks. Since day one of this pandemic, PPOA has engaged with the Sheriff’s Department, District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation and Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office to protect the health and safety of our members. However, as an organization, and for that matter, the employers can only do so much. You, as PPOA members, supervisors, co-workers, friends and family, must not allow complacency into your lives, either at work or home. Be better than the “too cool for school” people not wearing masks. Put your mask on and protect yourselves and others.
During the first wave of COVID-19, most people were unaware of any personal contacts having contracted the virus. Now, during this second surge, almost everyone you speak to knows at least one person who has tested positive. Over 600 LASD members have tested positive for COVID-19. Two academy classes have been quarantined due to positive testing recruits. Lakewood Station, West Hollywood Station, Industry Station and the Sheriff’s Communication Center are just a few on the list affected by positive testing individuals. Our own interactions at work, in training classes and other work-related functions, provide COVID-19 exposures, which could be mitigated by using a mask and social distancing. PPOA urges all members to protect yourselves, friends and families by continuing the use of personal masks whenever possible.
Just the other day, the Los Angeles Times included articles titled “Border Agency Fires 4 Over Bigoted Posts” and “Subtle Slurs Deserve Outrage.” The climate of society at the present moment is restrictive, emotional, raw and fearful. PPOA is reminding you yet again of the dangers of “posting” your thoughts and activities on social media. The world we live in is full of keyboard warriors with little to do in their lives due to COVID-19 isolation, no school and/or high unemployment. Do not give them a reason to engage. The best, most benevolent postings are often turned into a battlefield by hate-mongering individuals looking to knock you off balance.
Take, for example, the comments of a grieving daughter, Savannah Chavez, 16, whose father, Officer Ismael Chavez, recently died in the line of duty. As reported on July 13 by policemag.com (“Daughter of Slain Texas Officer Slammed for Tweeting ‘Blue Lives Matter’”), the current anti-law enforcement sentiment reflected on the internet caused an explosion of uncalled for, often hateful attacks on this young lady just trying to address her grief. Let’s find better ways to communicate. Let’s close the apps and use our phones to engage in caring conversations with family and friends. Social media has many advantages, but let’s limit it to staying in contact with friends, family, and marketplace bargains and opportunities. Engaging in controversial topics at this point is only a path to trouble.
OVERTIME AND THE BUDGET CRISIS
Are you a supervisor? Are there conversations between you and management regarding the need to utilize “saved overtime” to fill vacancies? If so, please be reminded, the choice to be “paid” overtime or “save” overtime is the choice of the employee, not the employer. Do not get creative trying to appease management and save money by either offering “saved overtime” or implying to an employee that they should choose “saved” overtime as their option. PPOA has recently reported numerous units to LASD Employee Relations to curtail this activity, which is in violation of a legally negotiated memorandum of understanding. Continued and/or repeated efforts to influence employees’ rights are prohibited, and PPOA is committed to ensuring our members’ rights are protected. If you are a supervisor being pressured by management or a member seeing this type of activity in email or in person, please contact PPOA.
BRIGHT LIGHTS IN A DARK WORLD
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, PPOA found hope for the future by continuing its scholarship program and providing funding to grateful PPOA members and families of PPOA members in the continuance of their education. While the awards ceremony, due to the health crisis, was canceled, PPOA was appreciative of the efforts demonstrated by the applicants in preparing for their futures. The winners, their photos and brief biographies are available for review on page 22. Congratulations to all of our winners, thanks to all the applicants and kudos to PPOA Board Members Tony Romo and Joyce Kato and those who participated in the judging process.