The Sheriff Shows Willful Disregard for Public Safety Preparing for Strike

At a time where the nation is questioning if officers have enough training to cope with certain crises, if their constitution is challenged enough at the door via academy and field training to weed out those who don’t fully qualify, if we are giving them the tools and support to make sure that our officers are able to best handle the situations they encounter…. we have our sheriff snubbing her nose at the very concept of improvement.

We’ve heard ad nauseam about SEIU and their now diverted strike. Their vote for a strike happened on Wednesday, June 24th with the strike to occur on the morning of Tuesday, June 30. You would think the county and the sheriff would start preparing to accommodate any needs on Wednesday. Well I again have a very strange tale to tell.

The sheriff’s office apparently didn’t reach out to the DSA until the DAY BEFORE the strike — June 29th, yesterday — to sort out extra needs, ordering mandated changes of schedule at the last minute, and scrambling to put some very odd operations plans in place. Security for facilities, security in courts, serving subpoenas, potential crowd control, etc.

Strangely enough, the Sheriff herself was talking to the CPOA — the Correctional Officers and Deputies union — about these things as early as Saturday, 2 days before even talking to the DSA according to my sources. The CPOA put out a notice to their members to put in for overtime for many of the above overtime needs — overtime, security for at least 5 county facilities and other “enforcement overtime” duties, according to other sources they were also seeking correctional personnel for “crowd control” and had needs for “gun bearer overtime.”  Because logic dictates that workplace security, crowd control, serving subpoenas… that’s all under the job description and training of a correctional officer, right? They certainly must attend the training of the crowd control unit, right? Nope. Or get regular training if there were an active shooter during their assignment for workplace security, right? Nope. Or get training on how to safely serve people or deal with people who may become wholly irate to find a “deputy” at their door say, during a union strike, and do something stupid? Nope.

It seems some of the CPOA leadership jumped right on it. Sure, we’ll put our personnel out on the streets for “workplace security” to deal with potential problems. Sure our people only see a 12 week academy and learn only about working within a correctional environment and how to mitigate it’s specific risks and dangers. But we’ll put our “gun bearers” out wherever you need them — even replace them in their court roles with non-armed correctional personnel so we can use them in enforcement duties as needed. They don’t have anything near the training the deputies get through their 6 month academy and many more months of field training and testing before they’re let out on the streets alone to do their job, but just as good, right? The leadership that did protest, only did so because they considered the assignments to ensure public safety to be “scab work” against the SEIU workers efforts.

Feel safer? Hey SEIU, I hate to think how ugly things could have gotten had one of you decided to be less than cooperative with a someone in over their head and completely out of their element. But hey, remember, you got what you voted for, too.

Rumors have made it back to me that last night, she actually had unarmed correctional officers, in uniform, in marked patrol cars, serving subpoenas as if they were fully sworn deputies. Uniformed. In marked sheriff’s vehicles.  On our streets.

Let’s get something straight here. It may sound like I’m knocking the Correctional personnel. I’m not. They’re trained to do what they’re trained to do. That’s not good, nor bad, just fact. I’m not saying SEIU is going to riot — at the same time, it was a high level SEIU organizer arrested in NY for violently attacking police officers during protests. Never assume. Sworn officers get the training they get to make us safer and to make them safer. It’s virtually impossible to train for every potential possibility, but this is a case of not training for any possibility.

While other cities battle with the level of training, qualifying policies for body cameras, finding ways to better certify an officers abilities… she’s taking people with 6 weeks training in an academy, who were telling us just last year that the sheriff hadn’t provided the training to develop the skill set to deal with sophisticated prisoners and she’s putting them on our streets.

In the mean time, talking to people involved in the last 2 fatal shootings involving deputies, they have yet to be spoken to in regards to developing an after action report or a real review of the either incident in a manner that would identify potential improvements in future potentially deadly confrontations.

We’re going backward here, not forward.

The sheriff needs to stop trying to attack the DSA and the deputies with actions like this. All she is doing is putting public safety at risk and continuing to harm the relationship that she promised to mend during the election between her and the deputies; deputies whom voted to endorse another candidate during the election. Instead, a year after the election, she is still refusing to even work with her personnel on urgent events such as this strike.

The sheriff needs to STOP using correctional personnel on our streets. The CPOA needs to stand up against the sheriff  endangering personnel by sending them out for assignments they are not trained or qualified to do. Correctional personnel should not be used for crowd control, not for workplace security, not for CASUnot to search for escaped violent offenders, not for anything outside our correctional facilities. Not unless she is going to send them to a 6 month academy, put them through a full field training program and give them full pay parity.

edited:  Previous version indicated correctional deputies attended a 6 week academy.  They actually attend a 12 week academy.  I apologize for the inaccuracy and thank you to the person who pointed that out to me.  I’m human, I make mistakes, I make an effort to correct them.  I wish the sheriff and her 4th floor staff would be like that on occasion.

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10 thoughts on “The Sheriff Shows Willful Disregard for Public Safety Preparing for Strike

  1. It seems the real issue here is a well known continued pattern of management and decision making within the department. Casey brings up the very points that should make citizens and correctional personnel alike concerned about public and officer safety issues.

    This is not a question of the dedication or sincerity of correction officers. This has everything to do with legal issues, common sense and reason. Is it reasonable to place correctional personnel in situations that could get them or the public hurt or killed?

    In the extreme, we wouldn’t expect to have a person who may have a private pilot’s license somehow qualified to fly an airliner or a doctor perform back surgery when their training may be in pediatrics. More simply, we wouldn’t expect a law enforcement officer handling enforcement calls if they did not successfully complete field training. We have all likely witnessed personnel who have been probationary released or reassigned for not completing field training successfully. Certainly this is not a jab at corrections officers and does not question or undermine their integrity, determination or training for the career path chosen.

    I truly respect the job correctional officers do, but dedication, sincerity and integrity are not substitutes for academy training, field testing, and other requirements enumerated in current law. Hopefully the involved labor associations look into the legal aspects and job pay parity issues this situation causes before someone gets hurt or killed.

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  2. You may have mistaken my statement for a threat, not intended. Even though Correctional staff rarely get any kind of respect from anyone in Enforcement, I would never throw anyone under the bus, and if you truly knew me like you say you do…you should know that. I, and I’m sure many other Correctional staff are just surprised to see you make some of those statements. You seemed to embrace the CPOA during the election, now you are chastising our Union leaders for offering overtime positions to our staff, at the direction of the Sheriff. I also did not agree with the overtime duties for several reasons, but not because I didn’t feel that our staff couldn’t handle it.

    1) Unarmed in uniform is just plain stupid, especially in these Law Enforcement hating days.
    2) I did not believe in the purpose of it. Unions should support other Unions. P.S. – I don’t refer to other Officers / Deputies as “scabs”.

    I get what you are saying, you just put it a shitty way. Accepting the overtime should be a personal decision. If I felt I couldn’t do it, I wouldn’t sign up. I think some of the newer staff that did it, did it to help the Department. Do you remember when you were new, and wanted to accept anything thrown at you? If it wasn’t for #2, I would have worked the overtime too. You see, I had a life experience prior to accepting the Correctional position I took, as did a large portion of our staff. I have been through a “higher skill set” Academy, and received all the same training that you did, however I chose to stay in Corrections. It’s a very rewarding job and I love my partners.

    Not everyone on this side would be “in over their head” if they met with someone not so cooperative, so your blanket statements were offensive. I guess I should be used to rhetoric by now. So much for being “all one”. I would think we would get a little more respect from our own “partners”

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    • I must have mistaken your statement? I don’t think there was any way to mistake what was implied by both the email you chose and the public statement you made.

      As for “respect” — I was sent a copy of the very personal and direct attacks made by a number of people, to include yourself, on the CPOA page regarding deputies, bailiffs, women and myself.

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  3. Why is the CPOA placing there members in harms way & exposing them to civil penalties by allowing their members to provide services and perform acts they are neither trained for or authorized to do?
    They have to know Laurie is just trying to divide us by pitting us against each other…..Classic Laurie Smith rulership!!

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  4. How’s this even possible? Isn’t this a violation of something?? County Merit rules, PC 830.something?? Isn’t there something the dsa’s attorney could file? Reading the tea leaves…..she’s gonna bounce deputies from positions in courts & replace them with correctional deputies.
    Isn’t all these petty acts by the sheriff a violation of law or just a moral/ethical violation?
    Come on sheriff……

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  5. Laurie ….Please retire. Enjoy life because it can’t be a great feeling to “Lead” a Dept. that doesn’t care for you as a “leader”.
    #notaleader
    #youramess

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  6. Ugh duh. If I wasn’t just a dumb CO, I might be able to read this and get offended.

    1) We do get active shooter training
    2) We do get riot control training, some of us have even worked Oakland riot details.
    3) Pretty sure we deal with irate people once and a while

    Cast us aside now that we are no longer a use to you. Your identity is not that secret.

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    • I’m about 150% certain you have no idea who I am. Why? Because I know exactly who you are. That said, I’m not impressed that you so misread my post and in turn chose to threaten to “out” me, knowing what the Sheriff would do to anyone who does know me in your office. I don’t stand alone, even if I wanted to.

      That said, I never said correction personnel were not capable of the job, I said they are not trained as an enforcement officer. This presents a myriad of unnecessary liabilities, mostly to you. My point being the uniform is all a person sees not who’s in it. Could you be trained to do these jobs? Absolutely. Like I said at the end, if the sheriff wants you to do these jobs, she needs to send you to academy, put you through field training, and give you pay parity. It’s not unheard of for personnel in corrections to be fully trained, sworn officers in other counties and states.

      My point was never that correction personnel are knuckledraggers as you imply here. It was that your training is for a different job, a different environment, with different risks.

      You deal with inmates, yes, I’m sure they get irate; you know what, it’s not the same when a civilian, standing in his castle gets irate and decides to defend his castle. You don’t deal with them the same.

      That you chose to take immediate offense, rather than perhaps ask me to clarify, and in turn responded with a threat that could potentially harm far more people than just me, is offensive and says, to me, a lot about how you may deal with irate people.

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