On December 1, 2014, CSLEA Senior Legal Counsel Ryan Navarre met with Department of State Hospitals Chief of Law Enforcement Kevin Hart and Health and Human Services Agency Special Law Enforcement Consultant Frank Parrish. Many topics were discussed during the meeting, including the following:
- The status of the current recruitment and retention proposal.
- The high number of vacancies plaguing the Hospital Police Officer Classification.
- The potentially dangerous amounts of overtime being worked by Officers.
- The enormous pay disparity between Hospital Police Officers and the neighboring law enforcement agencies that the Department of State Hospitals competes with for qualified candidates.
- The current law enforcement Chain of Command at the Department and concerns with the Administrative Letter which has since been retracted.
- The status of POST recognition for Hospital Police Officers.
- Napa State Hospital's interest in hiring private security guards to perform HPO duties.
- The need for additional officers consistent with current job duties and responsibilities.
- The need for updated and sufficient policies that will address Officer concerns and scenarios.
- The need to address radio issues that have been impacting officer communications at Metropolitan and Napa State Hospitals.
The recruitment and retention proposal remains at CalHR and Department of Finance. The primary purpose of the meeting was to make sure that Chief Hart and Mr. Parrish are doing all they can do to make the Hospital Police Officer recruitment and retention proposal a priority for the Department and Agency. CSLEA provided Chief Hart and Mr. Parrish with updated information regarding HPO vacancies, HPO overtime, HPO salary disparity, and HPO staffing deficiencies. CSLEA presented the following materials:
- Napa State Hospital Staffing Survey which shows that Napa State Hospital is under budgeted by approximately 39 HPO positions.
- A detailed salary survey which compares HPO salary (including HPO salaries after the July 2015 7.67% raise) to over 25 neighboring law enforcement agencies.
- HPO vacancies as of October 2014, which show that the HPO classification has approximately 119 vacancies for a vacancy rate of over 20%.
- A detailed overtime summary for sworn staff at Napa State Hospital, showing that on average, HPOs at Napa State Hospital work between 70 and 85 hours per month on overtime, which averages out to over $275,000 of overtime per month.
It was apparent that Chief Hart and Mr. Parrish were pleased to receive this information and intended on sharing this information with those within their chain of command to continue lobbying for improvements to HPO salary. CSLEA's next step will be to provide this information to the Legislative Analyst Office for consideration as it prepares for the upcoming budget analysis.
DSH Office of Protective Services first learned of Napa State Hospital's interest in hiring private security guards to perform HPO duties when it received CSLEA's November 19th cease and desist letter. The only communication CSLEA has received from the Department thus far is concerning its Public Records Act Request - the Department is in the process of gathering requested materials.
CSLEA was pleased to hear that progress is being made at the Department related to training and policies. The Department continues to work on HPO background files to ensure they are acceptable to POST and compliant with the requirements outlined in Government Code Section 1031. Furthermore, earlier this year, there was an amendment to Penal Code Section 830.38 requiring Health and Human Services Agency to develop training protocols and policies for police officers by July 1, 2015. The Department has contracted with leading policy provider Lexipol and it is expected that the Department will issue over 100 new law enforcement policies over the next 7 months. CSLEA will be afforded an opportunity to review and provide input to all policies prior to implementation.
In addition, Penal Code Section 830.38(c) also requires the Agency to "develop recommendations to further improve the quality and stability of law enforcement functions at both developmental centers and state hospitals in a meaningful and sustainable manner." These recommendations are due to the Legislature no later than January 10, 2015. Agency is currently working on an extensive report to be presented to the Legislature by its deadline. Although the contents of the report are confidential, CSLEA is optimistic that the report will address many issues that currently impact HPO salary, recruitment, training, and policy and procedures. Once the report is presented to the Legislature, CSLEA looks forward to meeting with Agency do discuss the findings of the report.
Chief Hart has agreed to meet with the Hospital Police Association of California (HPAC) Board of Directors during their upcoming meeting on December 12, 2014. If you have any questions or issues you would like presented for discussion during the meeting, please contact your respective HPAC board member.