The Personnel Division is charged with maintaining departmental organization charts, current vacancy levels and employee transfers. During the hiring process, the division is responsible for preparing the appropriate forms for new employees to begin employment. The division’s Professional Support Staff explain salary and benefits to new employees and issue all department identification cards to current and retired employees. Professional Support Staff members also support the Backgrounds Investigations and Internal Affairs Units.
The Background Investigators are responsible for identifying suitable and non-suitable applicants who apply for all job classifications in our department including volunteer positions. Due to the nature of law enforcement work, all employees must successfully complete the background investigation process. Many candidates who apply for employment do not meet the high standards of the profession and are disqualified during the background process. Background investigators meet with all candidates and conduct interviews with references. The investigators also coordinate medical exams, polygraph and psychological evaluations, when required. This process is very time consuming and generally takes six to eight weeks to complete.
The Sheriff’s Administration is committed to filling all department vacancies; therefore, the workload of the Background Investigation Unit is plentiful. Backgrounds are taking longer due to the number of applicants who must go through the process. Background investigators are committed to identifying candidates who meet the hiring criteria and disqualify those applicants who do not qualify for employment. The unit is tasked with a very important responsibility which impacts every division in the agency.
The Internal Affairs Unit is responsible for the investigation of all employee misconduct allegations which may result in discipline beyond that given at the supervisory level. A majority of the investigations are initiated through the citizen complaint process. Occasionally, investigations are initiated internally. All complaints are investigated in compliance with State law.
In late 2005, the Internal Affairs Investigators classification changed. For many years, the investigators were Sergeants. Due to retirements, promotions and transfers, the Sergeants assigned to the unit moved on. The interest in this position within the Sergeant rank was nearly non-existent. This provided a good opportunity to move highly motivated and qualified investigators within the Senior Deputy rank to this unit. This change occurred and thus far has been successful. This new opportunity for Senior Deputies will be good for employee development and is a positive change for the department.
The Internal Affairs Investigators have a very important responsibility, which is to gather the facts in all cases while protecting subject officers’ rights under Government Code 3300 (Police Officer’s Bill of Rights Act). The investigators understand their role can be unpleasant at times but they realize the importance and they work hard to gather the facts. They are equally committed to saving careers when employees are wrongfully accused. The investigators take pride in conducting fair, thorough and impartial investigations.
The Internal Affairs Unit also coordinates discipline reviews for the Chief Deputies as needed and liaison with County Counsel regarding many employee matters.
The Internal Affairs Unit is comprised of five Senior Deputy/Investigators and is supervised by a Sergeant.
Another component of the Human Resources Division is the Civil Litigation/Risk Management Unit. The goal of the this unit is to administer a program of comprehensive risk management and loss control for the department and its employees. The Risk Management Unit acts as a liaison for our employees with occupational injuries/illnesses assisting them in the Workers’ Compensation arena.
This unit administers the Return-To-Work Program. The goal of this program is to return our employees to work, fit and ready for full duty in a timely manner. The unit oversees occupational and industrial safety programs, absence and disability management programs, and assists employees filing for retirement.
The department’s Safety Officer is also assigned to this unit. The Safety Officer is responsible for providing on-going safety training for the entire department. Monthly safety meetings are held and on-site inspections of all divisions are conducted. The Safety Officer also checks for compliance with CalOSHA rules and regulations, including compiling, maintaining and reporting to CalOSHA.
A single Civil Litigation and Risk Management Coordinator oversees the Risk Management Unit. This specialist provides litigation and risk management support for the Department. The responsibilities of this individual include a variety of functions involving the preparation and analysis of legal documents along with the supervision of the Department’s Risk Management Unit. The Coordinator works closely with County Counsel to coordinate the exchange of information between the two Departments. The Coordinator also appears in Court on behalf of the department as the custodian of records and appears before Boards and Commissions as the department’s advocate. The Coordinator appears with County Counsel as the custodian of records at all Pitchess motion court appearances to protect the confidentiality of peace officer files.
When a critical incident occurs and there is the possibility of third party exposure, the Coordinator responds to the scene and interviews officers and witnesses and identifies mitigating or contributory factors. This approach to risk management issues enables the department to anticipate media scrutiny, reduce liability and increases effectiveness in this arena.
The Pesonnel Division is a critically important component of the department’s infrastructure.