We must move forward. After all the attention, efforts and legal wrangling aimed at COVID-19, regular business has to return to the forefront. Just like daylight saving time, it’s time for the use of COVID as a reason not to do business to end.
At the time of this writing, the 621 Negotiations Team will be preparing for contract sessions with the County. Those meetings are scheduled to begin on April 20 and will run every Wednesday until a tentative agreement is reached.
It will be a challenging season of negotiations, as the views about funding law enforcement entities were inflexible. However, the increase in crime rates, the brazenness in which these acts are committed and the lack of or light punishment for the lawlessness have caused some to re-examine that mindset.
Nevertheless, the issues bothering our members are still paramount, with staffing concerns mounting. The lack of Custody Assistant classes over the previous two years (only two) has impacted units as drafting and CARPing have become common and taxing on personnel. And as specialized units continue to poach from Custody, the Department must turn its attention to this area.
Station Jailer staffing remains a problem. Safety, security and workload are issues. Station Jailer staffing has been below industry standards for years, and the contract cities paying for patrol services should be made aware that detaining, Live Scan, monitoring, feeding and medical services are a part of that.
Inflation is high and geopolitical conflicts play a role in the economy. Oil prices, commodities, interest rates, etc., are impacting us all. And the cloud of possibly losing good, hardworking, dedicated employees still looms over all County employees. This latter issue is still being navigated by PPOA’s legal team to protect and preserve the employment of its membership.
Salaries, bonuses related to tenure, rank consistency and uniformity within the division along with movement, injury-related time and presumptive illness are all things to be laid out and presented. The hope is that the individuals retained to represent the County can be professional and open-minded and separate political perspectives while exercising good judgment and fairness while working with us.
During the pandemic, we were deemed essential. In an emergency, we’re disaster service workers. And when the sworn spots are short behind radio car runs, hospital details and impairments, we fill that void.
We’ve done our part. And by that measure, County leaders should do theirs.
“Safety isn’t expensive. It’s priceless.”