On Wednesday, August 21, HPAC and CSLEA representatives met with Department of Developmental Services (DDS), Department of State Hospitals (DSH), and California Health and Human Services (CHHS) Agency executives to discuss matters affecting Hospital Police Officers and Peace Officer Is.
Meeting with DDS Law Enforcement Leadership
First, HPAC President Luis Jimenez (Coalinga State Hospital HPO), HPAC Vice President Joe Fessenden (Porterville Developmental Center Peace Officer), Legal Counsel Ryan Navarre, and Senior Legal Counsel David De La Riva met with DDS Executives that included new Director of Protective Services Ken Hill, CHHS Assistant Secretary Kris Kent, and CHHS Special Law enforcement Consultant Frank Parrish.
Among the matters that were discussed were:
- the new OPS structure with Chief Hill in place
- updates on new OPS policies and procedures
- current staffing levels
- the status of a formal recruitment program
- salary disparity compared to other law enforcement agencies
- specialized training
- and officer safety (including firearms)
CSLEA emphasized that these matters are all extremely important to the Peace Officers and CSLEA is optimistic that it can work collaboratively with Chief Hill and Mr. Parrish to improve the OPS system and Peace Officer morale.
"I would like to thank everyone who attended the HPAC/CSLEA meeting. I would also like to welcome the Director of Protective Services Ken Hill and the law enforcement experience he will be bringing to the department," said HPAC Vice President Joe Fessenden. "The goal of HPAC/CSLEA will always be to make our department stronger and safer for everyone. I feel Chief Hill shares our goals and I look forward to working with him on the many challenging issues that DDS/OPS face."
Meeting with DSH Law Enforcement Leadership
After the DDS meeting, Luis Jimenez, Jared Burk (Napa State Hospital HPO), Sergio Flores (Napa State Hospital HPO), Legal Counsel Ryan Navarre, and Senior Legal Counsel David De La Riva met with DSH Executives that included DSH Deputy Director Mark Beckley, CHHS Assistant Secretary Kris Kent, and CHHS Special Law enforcement Consultant Frank Parrish.
Among the matters discussed at the DSH meeting were:
- the DSH patient population and its ever increasing dangers (including gang affiliations)
- a true law enforcement chain of command at DSH
- the need for POST Basic certification and training
- the creation of new and accurate law enforcement policies and procedures
- safety equipment (including vehicles) repair and replacement
- officer safety (including firearms)
- Recruitment/retention and salary issues (including salary disparity compared to other law enforcement agencies)
CSLEA is very encouraged by the interest DSH expressed during the meeting and is hopeful that CSLEA can work with DSH to achieve change and improvement moving forward.
CSLEA is very pleased with the outcome of these meetings and is eager to get to work with Chief Hill and Mr. Parrish – both of whom have extensive law enforcement experience from CHP to draw on. Also, the willingness of CHHS Assistant Secretary Kris Kent to actively participate in meetings involving HPO and POI working conditions is extremely promising.
“I am looking forward to working with Chief Hill and Mr. Parrish on the issues that were discussed at these meetings, and am appreciative of their, as well as CHHS Assistant Secretary Kris Kent’s and DSH Deputy Director Mark Beckley’s receptiveness to and recognition of our concerns,” said HPAC President Luis Jimenez. “Based on our discussions, I am hopeful they will ultimately translate into our departments making the necessary changes that need to transpire in order to provide our officers with uniform and standardized law enforcement training, essential safety equipment, and the ability for our departments to successfully recruit and retain law enforcement officers. I also acknowledge transitions such as these are going to take some time for necessary departmental assessments, cost analysis, planning and development, coordination of training requirements and compliance, and subsequent implementation. However HPAC is determined to ensure our officers issues and concerns are consistently presented at each and every step of these processes as we work collaboratively to resolve these matters.”