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October 31, 2017

DATE:  Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017

TO: 
News Media

FROM:
AFSCME Local 685;  Assoc. of Probation Supervisors, SEIU Local 721;  Professional Managers Association, AFSCME Local 1967; &  Probation Support Employees, SEIU Local 721


Coalition of Probation Unions Announces Probation Reform Task Force to Augment Work of LA County Blue Ribbon Commission on Public Safety


Los Angeles (CA) - Today, following the inaugural meeting of the Los Angeles County Blue Ribbon Commission on Public Safety-during which Association of Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff's (ALADS) vice president Robert Sass was appointed to the Commission-the Coalition of Probation Unions (Coalition) announced the formation of the Probation Reform Taskforce, which will present Commissioner Sass with information and perspectives gathered from the rank and file Probation officers with decades of experience in the Department.

"As the Blue Ribbon Commission on Public Safety launches its work, the men and women in the Los Angeles County Probation Department look forward to having our voices heard through labor's appointee on the Commission. The Probation Reform Taskforce will be providing Commissioner Sass with information and recommendations from the front lines of juvenile and adult probation," said Ralph Miller, President of AFSCME Local 685, which represents approximately 3,700 probation/peace officers. 

"We are pleased with the appointment of ALADS' Robert Sass to the Commission, and are confident he will represent the views of all public safety personnel in the County's Sheriff, Probation, and Corrections and Rehabilitation Departments," continued Miller.

First proposed by Supervisors Hahn and Kathryn Barger in August, the Blue Ribbon Commission on Public Safety will examine the impact of recent statewide criminal justice reforms and develop creative solutions to the challenges facing law enforcement in LA County. The 27-member Commission includes stakeholders from law enforcement agencies and areas of other government, as well as representatives from community groups and criminal justice organizations.

LA County Probation Reform Taskforce

The Coalition of Probation Unions has formed the LA County Probation Reform Taskforce (Taskforce) comprised of Probation Department personnel assigned to both the juvenile and adult divisions. The purpose of this effort is to develop worker-driven solutions to the problems, both perceived and real, within the Department. It is the Unions' belief that the persons who work on the line - rank and file, supervisors, and managers, as well as civilian support employees - are the best source to recommend potential changes in policy, procedures, and staffing.

The Coalition intends to select 25 individuals to participate in the Taskforce. The Taskforce will include a diverse cross-section of employees, including men and women ranging from novice employees within their first three years of service to employees on the eve of retirement. They will represent the perspective of sworn and civilian line personnel in both juvenile and adult, custody and field supervision.

Personnel assigned to the Taskforce will convene over a three (3) month period to review and find solutions for:
  • Staffing
  • Supervision
  • Equipment
  • Operating procedures and policies
  • Discipline and Disciplinary Guidelines
  • Facility functionality
  • Training
  • Probationer accountability and behavior
Representatives of the Taskforce will also meet with health and mental health workers that liaise with the Department represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to hear their perspective on the Department's service delivery.

The Coalition of Probation Unions believes that this Taskforce, comprised of sworn and civilian line staff required to handle the day-to-day challenges within the world's largest probation department, can deliver real solutions to the issues within the Department. 

 It is the Unions' hope that by working together with the Blue Ribbon Commission, Board of Supervisors, Department leadership, and the employee organizations representing health and mental health workers, we can overcome the issues in the Probation Department and develop a better environment for all.

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