To the doctors, staff, patients, visitors, and residents of nearby communities of 12 state hospitals and developmentally disabled facilities, they are the thin blue line of law enforcement, performing the same duties as any correctional officer. But to San Bernardino County Supervisor Neil Derry, they are nothing more than just “rent-a-cops.”
Lorenzo Indick, president of the Hospital Police Association of California, which represents the nearly 700 sworn peace officers at mental and developmental facilities up and down the state, today called on Derry to educate himself on an issue he threatens to give further tongue to.
“Supervisor Neil Derry is making a mistake if he thinks speaking about something he knows little about somehow gives him a credential on a matter,” said Indick. “The hospital police that the Riverside Press-Enterprise quotes him as not satisfied with providing security at Patton State Hospital are the primary law enforcement officials at all state hospitals run by the California Department of Mental Health and California Department of Developmental Services.
“Our brothers in arms at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation assist us in our duties, but our officers are in the heart of the facility every day at every hour. He’s right to worry about the cutbacks in CDCR officers, as it relates to communities around Patton State Hospital, but if he spent more time worrying about the understaffed hospital police officers inside and around Patton, he would be a lot further along in providing for the safety of the communities in his supervisorial district.
“The hospital police officers at Patton State Hospital are not “rent-a-cops,” as the Supervisor stated; they are sworn peace officers who continually guard patients and staff from violent people who are either criminally insane or not guilty by reason of insanity. The people we guard are too ill to be tried and too dangerous to be paroled. Many of these people have come straight from prison and are hardened criminals. We would enjoy the opportunity to show Supervisor Derry firsthand the rigors of the job, and seek his support in helping us get more the hospital fully staffed with officers to do this dangerous profession. Oh, by the way, our hospital police are doing all of this while being furloughed three days a month. We would hope the Supervisor is willing to help us in our effort to staff the hospital with a police force that will ensure the safety of the community and facility.”
Indick’s represents 520 police officers employed by the Department of Mental Health at Atascadero State Hospital, Coalinga State Hospital, Metropolitan State Hospital, Napa State Hospital, and Patton State Hospitals and 150 officers employed by the Department of Developmental Service at Agnews, Fairview, Lanterman, Porterville, Sonoma, Sierra Vista, and Canyon Springs developmental services. More about the duties of these officers can be found at http://www.cslea.com/Affiliates/HPAC/about.asp
Filed under: Military Industrial Complex, Prison Industrial Complex, San Bernardino County, SB Military, SB Sheriff, SB Supervisors | Tagged: Agnews Developmental Center, Atascadero State Hospital, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, California Department of Developmental Services, California Department of Mental Health, Canyon Springs Developmental Center, Coalinga State Hosptal, Fairview Developmental Center, Hospital Police Association of California, Lanterman Developmental Center, Lorenzo Indick, Metropolitan State Hospital, Napa State Hospital, Neil Derry, Patton State Hospital, Patton State Hospital Police Department, Porterville Developmental Center, Sierra Vista Developmental Services, Sonoma Developmental Center |