August 2016 Round Table Report
Department is experiencing transitional issues due to new chief. Recent article is the Fresno Bee regarding the recruitment and retention issues. Numerous juvenile detention position openings. Some staff have been receiving new molle style outer carrier vests for body armor. Armed officers will also be replacing their handguns with 9mm models.
Inyo County Probation is experiencing a lot of change at this time. The county has decided to reduce our juvenile institution to a special purpose “weekend only” facility and staff are being essentially reclassified. Some will remain at the hall; others will work in a hybrid group counselor/social worker/court school/day reporting center position still within our group but reporting to either Probation or HHS. It’s pretty messy and despite efforts from the unit to have input on the direction the department is headed, things are moving along with or without us. Hoping the end result is beneficial to employee’s, administration and county. As Dori says “Just keep swimming.”
Experiencing a budget crisis due to continual low oil prices. Looking at a program to lower the county General Fund by 2.5% each year in a 5-year step down program. Department is experiencing recruitment and retention issues.
The department continues to deal with large staff shortages, especially on their AB109 caseloads. They have approximately 100 armed officers and even though these assignments have a 5.5% armed assignment bonus, armed staff are turning in their weapons on a regular basis due to poor shifts and flexibility. The department is working on promotional language updates and Interim Chief Remington has been very supportive and goal oriented. Staff assaults continue to increase in the special housing unit (Hope Unit). The association estimates the department is short 900 probation positions and 1,500 juvenile housing positions.
The probation association has retained the Law Offices of Chris Miller for representation. They also have some new association board members and will be working on their contract which is due to expire in 2019.
New Chief Probation Officer Jeff Kettering, previously Assistant Chief, replaced Scott Ball who retired several months ago. Kettering came thru ranks from DPO.Continue to have staffing issues at Juvenile Correctional Facility. DPO staff covering and earning OTon a regular basis.Hiring DPO’s and JIO’s (Juvenile Institution Officers).Several staff members attended AFSCME national convention in Las Vegas this past July. Discussed opening dialog with SEIU re: future joint ventures.Moral in certain units of department low.Contract negations to begin in July.
The association continues to work with their management’s attempts to implement working condition changes without abiding by the meet and confer process. The department is pushing a uniform policy and is not including the association in any discussion. A juvenile work program was recently closed due to the low population and perceived punitive nature. Assaults on staff have increased at the juvenile facilities. The have initiated new charges but the District Attorney has not been filing charges. A Field Training Officer program is pending for the armed officers.
Currently working 12-hours shifts due to mutual aid conditions for local fire. Probation work has been replaced with traffic and evacuation duties. Pending a reopener contract with expiring contract next year. No major changes since the shooting event last year. Still dealing with some stress and medical related leaves after the shooting.
Dealing with recruitment and retention issues. May be reviewing hiring standards. POA has been using www.honorbands.net to provide custom mourning bands. Also discussed the importance of having a line of duty death benefit for members and utilizing the COPS (Concerns of Police Survivors) assistance. Information may be found at www.nationalcops.org. The next SCOPO meeting will be hosted in San Diego at the Catamaran Resort. A fundraiser event will also be held for District 80 ASM Lorena Gonzalez.
They are 18 probation officers short and continue to experience hiring problems. The county has temporarily suspended civil service rules to help with recruitment. SEUI represented institutional staff staged a walk out due to working conditions.
Remains the only unarmed probation department in the state. Building a relationship with their county board of supervisors. Experiencing problems with extremely high caseloads and have found that they are 23% below parity with nearby departments. Recruitment and retention issues due to similar staff being paid more than probation officer staff and staff leaving to higher paid counties.
Their armed officers will be replacing their 40mm handguns for 9mm. Their department will be starting their first open recruitment which will include a mandatory arming requirement. The association is experiencing a good working relationship with their management as they are included on all meet and confer issues at the beginning of a new issue.
Our department has established two new units and with that came several promotions to supervisor and DPO III (lead line staff). The new units are the Grant Projects Unit and the Professional Standards Unit. With the Grant Projects Unit, a new Community Liaison position was created, with a focus on outreach, educating the community on probation services, maintaining the department's social media accounts and the handling of high-profile supervision cases. The creation of the Professional Standards unit will change how we bring on new deputy probation officers. Once hired, the new DPO will be assigned to the Professional Standards Unit and will not be assigned to a permanent unit until after completing 832 PC, 832 firearms, IFORCE, 10-week Field Training Program and other department and county mandated training. Finally, the department held its first in-house Juvenile Corrections Officer Core, with several of our members being instructors.
The association is close to a vote of the overdue uniform design. Also looking into outside body armor carriers for field staff. Still working on improving the arming policy as it has been difficult to recruit enough staff to continue in an armed assignment. Considering reclassifying the existing Student Aide position to a Probation Aide. Working on a new employee performance evaluation with the county.