With this being the final article of 2019, I want to reflect on the past year and touch upon the items of concern going into 2020.
This year has seen a continued growth in numbers, but that growth does not reflect an expansion of the role as a whole. There are numerous individuals with skill sets that have benefited their unit and this Department.
There is still some “soul searching” to be done. That process has been aided by monthly meetings with the Department regarding issues concerning custody assistants at a specific unit or overall. Items have been resolved at these meetings and other situations improved despite some supervisors’ unwillingness to be there to answer for their units’ missteps.
Some supervisors are unaware. Others do not realize the severity until they are there. At that point, steps to address the matters in-house either failed or were ignored. After going through the process, some lieutenants and captains now welcome the discussion. It is easier and looks better to have reached a resolution between line and supervisors in some cases.
By the time this goes to print, the Audit and Accountability Bureau should hopefully be wrapping up their review, unless there is information that warrants further research and documentation. The goal is to take those findings and have open and honest discussions about what to do and where to go, including what areas are in line with the position, what areas need to be examined and what areas have a fundamental disconnect between risk, liability, tools and pay.
Additional jailers are still an objective. The recent assault of a Marina del Rey jailer only adds to the need. As executives and legislators continue to create work for the station jailer, no one is asking “how is this going to get done?” Or “do we need to increase staffing?” Should these contact cities have an additional jailer budgeted for and included in services?
And what role does the CCJV, Rosas and other federal mandates play in the station jails? Should the funding that covered changes and implementation in custody cover station jails as well? The same Title 15 standards apply. Why wouldn’t the funding and codes?
Station jailers have become an afterthought. Most supervisors only care that the checks are done; never mind everything else that goes into it. When a supervisor says “I don’t care about the jail,” it’s because he or she is not held to the same liability even though they check the jail twice per shift. One jailer said “they are setting us up for failure.” True. So the work continues to improve this situation.
For 2020, I hope to make more visits and briefings on each shift and extend these visits to the courts as well as LCMC. I will utilize the PPOA app more for announcements of those trips and updates. I also hope to utilize personal emails for blasts, information updates and to fill you in when your delegates are unavailable for meetings. With that, please make sure you have downloaded the PPOA app and make sure your personal email is on file at PPOA. Email that, along with your name and employee number, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The objective is always to be better. To be as detailed and relational as possible. To be more efficient as the scope broadens on what this position can be and what our position should be.
Take care. Be safe.