By the time you read this article, a new United States president will be sworn in, and thousands, perhaps millions, of vaccines for COVID-19 would now be distributed to Americans. Is this a promise for a brighter tomorrow? Maybe. We are making strides in beating this terrible virus, but unfortunately, there are still uncertain times ahead.
The “new norm” includes figuring out how to master Zoom teleconferencing. Elbow bumps have taken the place of handshakes, and it is now common to see multiple masks hanging from people’s gear shifter or rearview mirror. These are all signs of the times.
Please don’t get pandemic fatigued. Until things get back to normal, we must continue to adhere to CDC guidelines and protect ourselves from exposure to this deadly virus. Make sure to look out for your co-workers and their mental well-being. If you or a loved one have been impacted in any way by this terrible virus, my thoughts and prayers are with you. It was difficult to hear the news of the recent passing of Deputy Timothy Tellez of Parks Bureau. I spoke to Tim a few days before his passing, and he would always try to start each morning briefing by sharing jokes or his suggestions of movies to watch. Deputy Tellez will surely be missed.
Lately, there has been a lot of talk about whether or not the contracted services we provide to both Parks and Recreation and Community College Bureau will be extended. The answer is unknown. As PPOA works hard behind the scenes with the Department to continue these contracts, please do your part. Handling your job to the best of your ability will help us establish and maintain a working relationship with the public, staff and students. Simple things such as being visible at all times, looking sharp in uniform and getting to know College and Parks staff can make our services stand out and have a huge impact on continuing service. This goes for all units of assignments. These are lasting impressions that will aid in the long run.
PPOA continues talks with the Department regarding schedules for our Community College Bureau Sheriff’s Security Officers (SSO). We should have a mutual agreement soon. PPOA’s goal was to make it fair for all impacted members, and we were pleasantly surprised when the Department and College Bureau command staff made it easy to negotiate with. We still have work to do to secure a longer contract as the current one expires in five months.
Chances are, you have all heard or seen what has happened in Washington, D.C., at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. The question I pose is if there were outbreaks of violent protests here in Los Angeles County, would you be prepared? Have you discussed an action plan with your co-workers and supervisors? Do you know the capabilities of your job classification? We utilize SSOs and SSAs to protect many courthouses, County buildings and critical facilities throughout the county, so your role is important. Stay prepared and if you are unsure about what to do in an emergency situation, ask someone. Your safety is of the utmost importance.
As the year 2021 progresses and things get back to normal, we will move forward with our delegate meetings to keep our members informed and to keep the lines of communication open. Although the meetings may be virtual for the time being, the goal remains the same: to get information out to our delegates, who, in turn, will inform our members at their respective assignments.
Not only are we your union, we are your advocates. PPOA should be your first point of contact for information and advice. If you are interested in being a delegate, call the PPOA office at (323) 261-3010, and if you would like me to visit your unit of assignment, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be more than happy to pay you a visit. Be safe, and remember, stay positive! And test negative.