I want to thank you for allowing me to represent you for a fifth term as President of the Fresno Deputy Sheriff's Association.
During the past nine years, I have worked incredibly hard to provide every one of you with better wages and working conditions. I am honored to serve you in this leadership role.
I took office during a challenging and stressful era, as our entire country faced the toughest economic times in recent history. During the widespread recession, Fresno County sent out 88 layoff notices to deputies. Tireless negotiations and cooperation with the Board of Supervisors and Sheriff resulted in not a single deputy losing their job. In 2011, painful and unwanted recession related pay cuts were made to balance the county's deep budget deficit. However, our next contract not only resumed earning amounts to pre-recession rates- it exceeded them by 5.5 percent. Most recently, our latest contract provides a notable 16 percent pay raise over three years.
The new contract also has Fresno County contributing more toward insurance costs for FDSA members. In addition, we currently have lower insurance rates that we have experienced in years. As Chairman of the FDSA Insurance Benefits and Trust Board, I have worked hard to educate members about usage and ways to get our rates lower. Once our large claims and usage decreased, I was able to show these successful strides to our insurance providers to receive a significant drop in rates.
I have also spent countless hours meeting with various community leaders and elected officials to elevate the organization to become one of the premiere associations in Central California. The FDSA is now widely recognized as a law enforcement association that is engaged and leading the way in local police related issues affecting Fresno County and beyond.
A few highlights during my tenure include:
Organizing and formalizing a Peace Officer Memorial Fund to honor fallen deputies and other law enforcement officers who die in the line of duty.
Designating funds generated from the FDSA Annual Golf Tournament specifically to the Peace Officer Memorial Fund. Setting a personal goal of raising $100,000 specifically for this fund. Before being sworn into office, the tournament had a deficit of -$2,500. Last year, the account surpassed more than $100,000!
Fending off the City of Fresno's former mayor when an attempt was made to takeover policing of county islands. Organizing a constant campaign to warn potentially affected residents of the motives and potential consequences. City leaders eventually abandoned this plan.
Firmly committing to honoring fallen officers every year at state and national memorial events. Since 2009, the FDSA has randomly selected 10 members to attend the Sacramento ceremony. Travel and lodging costs are paid to attend the event. In addition, two members are chosen through a lottery to travel to Washington DC to attend national remembrance events.
Balancing the FDSA budget each year with a surplus rollover. Additionally, establishing a system of checks and balances and transparency by initiating annual audits of both the FDSA and Insurance Trust accounts.
I am grateful for the confidence you have had in me throughout the years.
Although we may not cross paths often, please remember I am always available, to discuss any issue or concern you may have, at any time. This is my commitment to each member of this organization.
Thank you so much for your continued support. I'm so grateful and humbled to serve in this capacity.
By Michele Hanisee
Despite objections from countless law enforcement organizations, Voltaire Williams who is serving a life sentence for his critical role in the 1985 assassination of LAPD Detective Thomas Williams (no relation) was granted parole on May 2nd, by a three-person panel from the Board of Parole Hearings.
Voltaire Williams, who has spent the last 32 years in prison after being convicted of conspiracy to murder Detective Williams will now be released on parole. The decision, made after Governor Jerry Brown requested the Parole Board to reconsider an October, 2016 grant of parole for Williams, reinforces the fact that the Parole Board is determined to release life sentence inmates regardless of their dangerousness to society.
Inmate Williams was a key participant in what has been described as one of the worst murder plots in Los Angeles history; the killing of LAPD Detective Thomas Williams to prevent him from testifying in an upcoming criminal case. Inmate Williams was supposed to shoot Detective Williams himself. When the person who had hired him decided to commit the murder on his own, Williams chose not to inform authorities. Detective Williams was picking up his six-year-old son Ryan from church school when the shooter opened fired with a Mac-10 assault rifle. Williams barely had time to tell his son to duck before he was struck by the hail of bullets that also penetrated classroom walls.
Governor Brown asked the Parole Board to reconsider the earlier parole grant, citing Williams's minimization of his role in the crime and his lack of appreciation of the magnitude of the crime and its effect upon the community. Deputy District Attorney Lawrence Morrison highlighted these concerns before the Parole Board, as well as the inmate's lengthy history of lying to prior parole panels on key points of his actions during the conspiracy. Morrison further pointed out to the Parole Board, Williams' failure to acknowledge his active involvement in two separate conspiracies to murder, and the board's reliance on incomplete psychology reports predicting a low risk of future violence.
None of this mattered to the Parole Board, which operates behind prison walls outside the eye of the public. It is clear that in their minds, when an inmate has served a certain portion of their sentence they should be released, and any future harm they cause can be dealt with via a new prosecution. A rubber stamp could hardly do worse.
I found an interesting article that was published by the San Francisco Chronicle on May 31, 2017. You will find the similarities of some language within the article. Obviously some of the major difference is the San Francisco DSA is more "fixed post," with the courts and jail operations. San Francisco Police Department handles all the law enforcement within the county. San Francisco is one of the unique city/counties in California.
The point of the article is to show the staffing shortages that have been and are currently occurring throughout the State of California. Salary and benefit packages are a huge driving force these days into where new recruits will land a job.
The Sheriff makes the decision to who will be working and when. The DSA will just be able to create a happy medium with an order to ensure safe working conditions. The Sheriff is making a decision until she can get the problem under control. She is calling for ALL HANDS ON DECK!!
SF sheriff orders mandatory overtime due to staffing shortage
The San Francisco Sheriff's Department jail population has been on the decline in recent years, but there still aren't enough deputies to work in the county's jails without authorizing overtime.
In fact, staff shortages have forced Sheriff Vicki Hennessy to order her 840 sworn deputies to work mandatory overtime until September, according to a May 19 memo titled "Declaration of Emergency" that was obtained by the San Francisco Examiner.
The memo, which Hennessy acknowledged last week in a phone interview, states that every deputy must work 12 hours of overtime and managers must work eight per pay period so that minimal staffing levels can be met because of the "extreme staffing shortage."
Fully staffed, the department would have 915 deputies.
Hennessy said that in the past, volunteers have come forward to fill the gap when there are expected staffing shortages, such as during the holidays or over the summer.
"I am ordering them to work, if not [we'll] learn what will happen if they don't," she said, adding that this is the first time the department has had to mandate overtime since she was elected sheriff in 2015.
But she has had to cancel some deputies' days off during winter holidays.
The order will stand until Sept. 8, but Hennessy expects by next summer to hire deputies for the dozens of unfilled sworn full-time positions.
"Next summer we're going to be in a much better place," she said. "For now, we're struggling."
The order is due to a lack of new hires in recent years, and will cost The City a pretty penny. In fact, the department's budget asks for overtime increased by 22 percent compared to last year, according to the Budget Analyst's Office.
In the current fiscal year 2016-17, the department budgeted for $12 million, but they overspent and overtime reached a total of $23 million, which is 22 percent higher than the previous fiscal year's overtime cost of $19 million.
Those extra funds — $11 million — were repurposed from unspent salaries and other funds because of vacant positions.
The San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs' Association did not return a call for comment.
The issue of overtime spending has been a problem at least the past eight years, mostly because of a freeze in new academy classes following the recession. Since then, the empty positions have been filled with an escalating overtime budget.
"Since fiscal year 2013-14, sheriff overtime expenditures have increased by approximately $13.6 million, or 130 percent," according to the budget analyst report.
A Nice Gesture From Our California Federal Delegation
Following the celebration of National Police Week, which honors the men and women who serve and protect our communities, Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-09) announced that he is leading efforts to urge the Postmaster General to establish a semi-postal stamp that would honor fallen law enforcement officers and direct the stamp's proceeds toward a program benefiting their families.
"Every day, law enforcement officers across the country put their lives on the line in service to the American people," said Congressman McNerney. "While they don't ask for recognition or praise, we owe them a great deal for the safety and security they provide. Any officer that gives his or her life in the line of duty is a tragedy for their families and for the community. This stamp would not only pay tribute to these brave men and women, but the proceeds from this purchase would go toward helping their families in these tragic situations."
In a letter to the Postmaster General – which was endorsed by the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA), the Peace Officers Research Association of California and the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) – Congressman McNerney points to the success and benefits of similar stamps that were specifically designed to contribute to causes such as breast cancer research and saving vanishing species, which have collectively raised more than $87 million.
"In addition to establishing this much-deserved acknowledgment for our fallen law enforcement officers, issuing this stamp would help the families they leave behind while also encouraging the use of the United States Postal Service," said Congressman McNerney.
Additional signatories on the letter include Representatives Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Grace Napolitano (CA-32), Mike Thompson (CA-05), Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (D-N. Marianas), Richard Nolan (MN-08), John B. Larson (CT-01), Salud Carbajal (CA-24), and Betty McCollum (MN-04).
Stay safe and continue to protect one another out there during these hot summer months.