Staffing is an issue. That is obvious. People are tired, burned out and frustrated. PPOA has spoken of this issue with the Department, specifically and directly to Sheriff Luna and Assistant Sheriff Aloma.
Both men have acknowledged and expressed their concerns with the staffing levels and the increasing void of manpower. This has also been communicated to Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger. The question is not simply keeping our status quo, but how to bring numbers into a profession that is under intense scrutiny from the public and the media.
Those of us who come to work and do our job in a thorough and professional manner are feeling the effects of it. There is a hope, if not an expectation, that the Department, the Board and the public can identify the needs and provide the necessary resources to serve the communities. Crime has not and will not stop. And despite the best hopes and ideas for treatment and rehabilitation, there are individuals who belong in cells accompanied by lengthy sentences.
There is currently a group in backgrounds for Custody Assistant with a yet-to-be-determined Academy date. But it seems as more C/As get into Deputy classes, that you would have to increase hiring levels simply to maintain.
There have been questions about CCWs. A recent Board of Supervisors’ proposal, along with state politicians looking to make changes to, if not rewrite, the concealed carry law, has PPOA’s attention. We have spoken with our lobbying firm and will reach out to the Department and counsel to ensure that our law-abiding members are briefed with the proper information and that their status as first responders and disaster service workers is considered.
The Department plans to continue processing CCW applications and renewals. They, like most units, are also short-staffed, nevertheless they are moving to improve the communication and grow the operation. Be sure to start your renewals well in advance of your expiration date to help ensure that you have your new permit prior to your current permit expiring.
It should go without saying that you cannot carry with an expired permit. As a reminder, your permit is not work-related or a condition of your employment. Therefore, if the unfortunate ever happens and you brandish or have to use your firearm, it will not be a Department or union matter. So, if you have not already, please invest in concealed carry insurance.
Finally, after years of stress, threats, poor communication by the Department and an abundance of misinformation, the COVID policies, including the vaccination policy, have ended.
As of April 3, there is no longer a vaccination requirement for current County employees or new hires. Requirements do remain for certain employees in health-care facilities under federal and local health orders. You can get tested on duty if there is a workplace exposure.
Throughout it all, PPOA advocated for and defended its members, ensuring their rights and workplace conditions were treated appropriately. No PPOA member was disciplined or terminated for violation of the County mandate.
As rough as this period was, we thank those of you who asked questions, learned what was actually taking place and what our legal team was fighting for. Thank you to PPOA attorney Jim Cunningham for all of his time and efforts in securing fairness in the treatment of our members.
Take care. Be safe.