On June 14, the Centennial Custody Assistant Class graduated. That is 100 classes over roughly a 30-year span. There’s a saying, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” At times, it seems that should be the custody assignment mantra.
Over those 30 years, the change has been apparent to those who work the position and to those who supervise the position, yet not to the Department that created it or the County that finances it.
Recent discussions with the Department have focused a spotlight on the item, and I believe it’s brighter now than ever. In recent months, I have spoken about our station jailers and the positions in custody, but that does not exclude those of you who work courts as well. You have been included in talks of workload, expectations, risk and liability. It is all encompassing of the C/A position.
We recently met with Employee Relations and the Audit and Accountability Bureau. PPOA was informed in detail of the upcoming review of the C/A position and assured of the thoroughness with which the process will be carried out. Recent meetings have resulted in the transfer list being available for viewing, and working with the Department on increasing station jailer staffing. We have discussed how, for the last five years, the Department has asked for additional jailer items, yet the Board of Supervisors has inexplicably denied the funding. But plans are in place to finally take a hard, in-depth look at why we have been continually beating this drum.
With that, there is still much to be accomplished. Some of it is just basic in regards to our duties:
- Taser training in custody
- Gas masks as standard-issued equipment
- CCWs — still working to reach an amicable agreement between the Department and PPOA
- Working to equip PPOA delegates with the tools to quell minor issues in-house
- Mounting PPOA bulletin boards at units countywide with the most recent and pertinent information regarding your union membership
- Continuing facility visits on varying shifts to address your questions and hear your concerns
I also encourage you to download the PPOA mobile app. In this age of business and information running through our phones, PPOA is no different. Access to information, representation and all of the benefits offered to our members is available through the PPOA app.
Although there have been changes in executive leadership within PPOA and the Department, the mission remains the same in order to help the custody assistant position move forward:
- Recognize the contributions to the Department made by our classification.
- Improve our foundation.
- Build upon the issues brought before the Department.
- Remove the stigma that “One Badge, Unlimited Possibilities” only applies if that badge is a star and not a shield.
Take care. Be safe.