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 CASU, not 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.