Assembly Republican Leader Conway Calls for Audit to Examine Training Requirements, Investigative Practices and Rampant Overtime by Office of Protective Services

Posted: July 11, 2012 in California Politics
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From the California State Assembly Republican Caucus:

Prompted by a recent series of investigative articles by California Watch, Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway, of Tulare, today sent a letter to the Joint Legislative Audit Committee requesting an audit into the Office of Protective Services, the law enforcement agency under the Department of Developmental Services.

“This police force has jurisdiction over state facilities that care for some of California’s most vulnerable residents and I am troubled by some of the issues that the articles have uncovered including lack of appropriate law enforcement training, delayed investigations into suspicious patient deaths and excessive overtime pay,” said Conway.

Conway requested an audit into the practices of the Office of Protective Services including:

  • Training requirements for officers and management staff. According to press accounts, upper management often have less law enforcement experience than the officers under their supervision.  In addition, there are questions as to whether managers have undergone legally-required training by the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training. These practices continue despite the findings of a 2002 Department of Justice audit suggesting the department should “recruit and hire a highly qualified  law enforcement candidate” for police chief.
  • Protocols for criminal investigations at developmental centers and how those practices compare with other state and local law enforcement. Published news reports allege that death investigations at state facilities began more than 24 hours after the initial incidents, which could compromise evidence at the scenes. In some instances, the Office of Protocol Services is not notified of potential criminal incidents, including abuse of patients, until days after they occurred.
  • Staffing issues resulting in rampant overtime pay. California Watch compared overtime of California’s other law enforcement agencies and found that the Office of Protective Services had a significantly higher proportion of overtime.  Some officers have been able to earn more from overtime pay than from their base salaries.  There have been allegations that some officers were paid for hours when they were not on the job or after state-run facilities had shut down.

“Public safety is one of government’s highest priorities, but we must be efficient with our limited tax dollars.  Particularly at a time when the state is reducing health and human services, we must be mindful that our resources are maximized to serve residents truly in need and not for bureaucratic overhead,” said Conway.

On August 7, the Joint Legislative Audit Committee will hold a hearing to consider this audit request.

Click here for the full text of the letter and click here for the attachment referenced in the letter.

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