|The California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) is concerned for the safety of individuals living, visiting, and working at the Yountville Veterans Home, as well as for the safety of first responders; and are hoping for a peaceful and speedy resolution to the reports of an armed individual inside the facility.
In response to inquiries to CSLEA about unarmed security officers employed at the Yountville Veterans Home, CSLEA is releasing the following information:
This is to confirm that CSLEA-represented public safety officers at Yountville Veterans Home are unarmed in large part due to the Department of Veterans Affairs’ unwillingness to confer peace officer authority upon them. To members of the public, these Yountville Public Safety Officers may appear to be fully sworn and armed law enforcement; as their uniforms are similar to that of a deputy sheriff and they drive black and white patrol vehicles. Despite being unarmed, they are tasked with the responsibility of protecting a very large campus of residents, staff, and visitors 24 hours a day, and local law enforcement relies on these public safety officers as the frontline security for the hospital.
However, the lack of sworn armed peace officers at open State residential campuses is not isolated to Yountville. There are similar problems at other open residential campuses at the Department of State Hospitals and the Department of Developmental Services. The State has approximately 600 sworn peace officers who work at large open campuses where the officers are tasked with protecting residents, staff, and visitors while unarmed. For years, CSLEA has highlighted the dangers to the public and our members via legislation, collective bargaining and arbitration. To date, administrators have been willing to risk public safety rather than provide trained law enforcement officers with firearms. Rather than the State taking a proactive approach to adequately protect their residents, staff, and visitors, CSLEA’s fears have been, and continue to be, that it will take a tragic event to force administrators to finally act.