From the President

November 16, 2015

It has been a long and hard legislative journey this year, but it was well worth the effort. In September we saw two victories, AB 989 (juveniles: sealing of records) was signed into law by Governor Brown, and SB 124 (juveniles: solitary confinement) was defeated! Both were significant achievements by SCOPO. AB 989 was SCOPO’s first bill to be signed into law, and we overcame a significant mountain of support for SB 124 in order to kill it in committee. Getting AB 989 signed into law clarifies Probation’s access to sealed juvenile records; while the defeat of SB 124 avoids putting juvenile institution staff and minors at risk, due to proposed changes to the confinement of juveniles.

2015 will also mark the end of my term as SCOPO President. Effective December 31st, 2015, I am stepping down as SCOPO President. After careful consideration of both my personal life and future career opportunities, I have decided to spend more time pursuing other interests while focusing on local politics. Over these six years, it has been an honor representing SCOPO and probation peace officers throughout the state at the Capitol on legislative issues. I know SCOPO has a bright future ahead, and it will continue to represent probation peace officers’ best interests. At our October 2015 Board meeting, elections were held for several offices, including the office of president. Brian Ronan, Kern County Probation Officers Association President, will take over as SCOPO President effective January 1st, 2016.

Looking back on the last six years, it’s hard to believe how much has transpired: launching the SCOPO website, dealing with the financial impact of the Great Recession, learning how to operate in a world post-AB 109, sponsoring arming bills (AB 1968, AB 1040, and AB 2314), sponsoring bills addressing rank & file’s voice at Community Corrections Partnership meetings (AB 2031, SB 199, and AB 2526), sponsoring a bill to address mandated Probation funding (AB 2373), sponsoring jury duty exemption bills for Probation Peace Officers (AB 1708 and SB 428), sponsoring a bill to clarify Probation’s access to sealed juvenile records (AB 989), addressing efforts by the state legislature (AB 340/197) to reduce retirement benefits while simultaneously asking public employees to pay more into their retirement plans, engaging in discussions with legislators to extend SB 678 funding, successfully fought and defeated proponents of Proposition 32 which would have effectively neutralized unions, and twice defeated bills that proposed eliminating solitary confinement for juveniles (SB 61 and SB 124). We wouldn’t have been as effective as we were without the support of our membership, and allies like AFSCME Local 685, CCLEA, PORAC, and CCPOA, in addition to working with a traditional adversary like CPOC. In the end, all were fighting for mutual interests in a unified manner.

Lastly, we should remember how important it is for all of us to do our part in educating legislators about our issues; from state legislators down to your local Board of Supervisors. Become informed about the issues that are important to your members and our profession, meet and educate your legislators about the job we do and why it is important to adequately fund Probation. All of us need to be fighting together for continued and expanded Probation funding, and for issues that are important to officer safety and your quality of life. Remember to pass along what you have learned to the next generation of your membership. Failing to do so, would be a disservice to them and everything your organization has fought for over the years.

Stay alert, stay safe, and stand committed together.

Paul Brennan
SCOPO President