While preparing this article for Star & Shield, very sad news arrived about the passing of Sheriff’s Security Assistant Anthony Hopkins. The 17-year LASD veteran died on May 19 following a courageous battle with cancer. Hopkins was assigned to Pasadena Courthouse and was a valued member of PPOA for his entire career. Please keep the Hopkins family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult period. Funeral services are delayed due to COVID-19, but condolences can be sent to:
PPOA ATTN: Hopkins Family
188 E. Arrow Hwy
San Dimas, CA 91773
We will ensure that everything is promptly forwarded to the Hopkins family.
Parks Bureau Closure Ahead?
During a news briefing last month, Sheriff Villanueva announced plans to alleviate the LASD budget deficit by potentially closing two patrol stations, eliminating two bureaus and ordering several reductions at units throughout the Department. According to the Sheriff’s proposal, the closures of Altadena Station and Marina del Rey Station will save $12 million annually, and closing Parks Bureau and Community Partnership (COPS) Bureau will save an additional $62 million a year. He also said the Department will reduce the number of DST Academy classes from 12 to eight per year, providing a savings of nearly $22 million.
As many of you know, Parks Bureau has roughly 200 employees and is responsible for public safety at 177 County parks, trails and golf courses. Naturally, we all have plenty of questions about how a bureau closure would affect PPOA members assigned there. Unfortunately, I don’t think anyone has the answers to those questions at this point. Compounding the obvious challenges presented by this plan is the fact that neither PPOA or ALADS received details of the Sheriff’s planned closures until the media briefing was streamed live. But PPOA has since been in contact with Department executives and we will inform members when there is anything concrete to report about this matter.
Please be sure to monitor news from PPOA for updates. If you hear rumors, let me know, and I’ll do my best to address it. But keep in mind that most of the predictions about how the budget drama will ultimately play out between the Sheriff and the County supervisors are speculation at best.
CCWs and Uniform Color Change Still at Hand
For obvious reasons, COVID-19 forced the Sheriff’s Department to reprioritize a number of issues affecting PPOA members. Up until a couple of months ago, we had a series of meetings with Department representatives about CCWs for security officers and custody assistants. As my fellow PPOA Board member Tony Coleman attests in his article, we actually felt the most recent of those meetings was productive. Then the coronavirus took hold. We are now in a holding pattern but look forward to scheduling a new meeting with County Counsel once we get the green light.
Progress on the LASD security personnel uniform color change is also on hold during the pandemic. The color change survey for PPOA members I referenced in my article earlier this year will be distributed to members as soon as we’re able to pick up where we left off in the spring. Stay tuned.
Speaking of uniforms, please be aware that DOC Notice #50 (email on April 3) incorrectly indicated that the Class B uniforms approved during COVID-19 were to have black lettering on the name badge. That lettering should actually be yellow, as this was the color formally approved by the Department. We are told the verbiage in our MOU will be corrected soon.
Congrats to SSO Class #56
Although COVID-19 prevented Security Officer Class #56 from celebrating its graduation at a ceremony with family and friends, I was honored to meet them after completion of five weeks of training. I was especially proud to present a flashlight from PPOA to the top recruit, Officer Sienna Arbiso. It is also worth noting that four of the class members were promoted from security assistant. Congratulations to all of you from PPOA!
While we’re on the subject of former security assistants, I want to give a special shout-out to one of the Department’s newest DST graduates: Deputy Jessica McDaniel. She was sworn in by Sheriff Villanueva in April with her fellow deputies in Class #447. Congratulations, Deputy McDaniel!
If anyone knows a co-worker who tested positive for COVID-19 and needs support of any kind, please tell him or her to contact me. PPOA wants to help in any way possible, but we must be contacted directly by the individual in question.
Stay safe, everyone.