CST and Sr. CST Safety Update

Dear OCEA Member,

As most of you are aware, over the last several months OCEA Labor Relations Representatives Aaron Peardon and Kate Wolf have been out at your worksites hearing directly from you the concerns that impact the CST and Sr. CST classifications. As part of those meetings, we committed to forming an OCEA committee comprised of your co-workers so that we could begin addressing your issues with OCSD management. We first would like to thank the people who volunteered to be part of the committee: Sr. CST Jaime Avila and CST Israel Hernandez from Theo Lacey; CST Daniel Dusca from Commissary; CST Steve Romo and CST Nathan Espionosa from James A Musick Facility; and Sr. CST Julio Robles, Sr. CST Annette Ortega, CST Demian Cortez and CST Francisco Farias from the Central Jail Complex. As you can see, the committee has a broad range of representation covering multiple facilities.

One of the first issues that we have had the opportunity to address is the concern of employee safety. We all know that with AB109 our institutions have seen an influx of dangerous inmates. CSTs have the most inmate contact on a regular basis of any of the classifications within the jail system, yet they have not been authorized nor trained in carrying OC spray (pepper spray) or handcuffs.

On Nov. 27, after raising these issues to Undersheriff Barnes, your committee met with Commander Briggs and Captain Lagaret to request that the department authorize and train CSTs and Sr. CSTs on the carrying and use of pepper spray and handcuffs. Each committee member gave personal testimony of how their own safety and that of their co-workers would be greatly improved with these key pieces of safety equipment and how not having this equipment has put themselves and co-workers in harm’s way.

We are happy to report that when we met this past Monday, Jan. 8, Commander Briggs and Captain Lagaret informed us that the department will authorize CSTs and Sr. CST to carry both pepper spray and handcuffs. This is a huge victory for you and your co-workers not only for safety, but to be treated equally with other classifications working in the jails. The next steps will include meeting with the department on Feb. 26 to begin discussing the training program and implementation of the new policies. It is important for everyone to understand that this training will be mandatory and that all Sr. CSTs and CSTs will be required to carry both pepper spray and handcuffs after completing training. While we understand that there may be a few individuals that have some apprehension to carrying pepper spray and handcuffs, your committee was unanimous in deciding that everyone’s safety is the most important factor in moving forward with this decision.

This issue is a great example of how we can work collaboratively to resolve issues. We would also like to thank Commander Briggs, Captain Lagaret, Undersheriff Barnes and Sheriff Hutchens for listening to and addressing our concerns.

We will continue to keep you updated on our progress on this issue, but also want you to know that the CST committee is not done. We will continue to meet with the department on additional issues throughout the coming year.  If you have an issue or concern that you would like to bring forward please contact any of the committee members who once again are:

CST Committee

Sr. CST Jaime Avila
CST Demian Cortez
CST Francisco Farias
CST Daniel Dusca
CST Steve Romo
CST Nathan Espionosa
Sr. CST Julio Robles
CST Israel Hernandez
Sr. CST Annette Ortega

Standing together, shoulder to shoulder we are able to accomplish many great things.

In Solidarity,

Aaron Peardon
OCEA Senior Labor Relations Representative

Kate Wolf
OCEA Labor Relations Specialist

Publication Date: January 11, 2018