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Bloviating Zeppelin: Ribs

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


So there I was.

Yesterday at work was one of the worst in recent memory. Whereas before I had been in the Training Division for the past twelve years, was the Rangemaster for my department, then the EVOC Supervisor -- I lost my EVOC job last year when it was eliminated in budget cuts. I found myself flopped back to the "corrections" system in a facility where I actually had begun this career -- ahem -- 30+ years ago, shall we say.

Now, there is essentially no training division for the department at all.

That said, I have been the supervisor for 50+ deputies per shift for almost a year now. My first duty on my very first day was to lay off deputies from my new facility, collect their equipment, radios, keys, etc., and shove them out the door. Some supervisors did just that; I found it callous and reprehensible. Neither the Sheriff for my department nor any of his Chief Deputies showed up to shake their hands and thank them for their service. No. None of the executive staff deigned to lower themselves to that level -- they would have had to actually face their troops and actually answer difficult questions.

Instead, I ended up talking to those I had to personally process; I helped carry the contents of their lockers and their possessions out to their cars. Some were stoic; some were trying not to cry; some were running tears as their backs were turned to their remaining young friends watching them leave.

We lost over 170 young troops in one day.

Since then, I have watched my department continue to mismanage funds and hemorrhage personnel. Of course, none of the people on the fourth floor lost their own cell phones, offices, take-home cars. Trust me, their trunks are still comprised more of golf clubs than emergency equipment.

The facility is a powderkeg waiting to blow. The various gangs are consolidating their power. Two internal housing areas in my facility were shut down for "cost savings." Yet the arrests haven't stopped in my county, of course -- and everyone has to be somewhere. There are two fewer housing areas, more inmates, fewer deputies. The gangs know we are hurt and bleeding. They are making moves and violence is up. Assaults on inmates are up. And public disrespect towards my deputies is climbing geometrically because the inmates -- many of them wards of the State of Cali and senior gang members -- realize our plight. They're human; they're not stupid. And they can read the papers, to which many of them subscribe, and watch the news, due to TVs in all the pods.

Yesterday was another point in the stretching sanity. Too few troops to do too many jobs, nursing staff cut, no psych staff at all on weekends. Demands made. Hurt inmates, crazy inmates, med runs, tempers, frustration, anger. Fingers pointing at other shifts. A facility commander who, at 47, decides he's had enough with his assignment and the department itself. His office was cleaned out two weeks before his troops all knew he was thinking of leaving. He's jumping ship. Our Sheriff is jumping ship at the end of his single term. And specifically, good riddance to him.

I patched wounds and I patched egos and I provided a listening board for numerous young deputies yesterday, one who was doing her best not to burst into tears from frustration. I solved problems and spoke in soothing tones and put a lid on the boiling emotions. Everyone is on edge.

This is one very dangerous place.


And to think I originally wanted to write about ribs today. I was derailed by thoughts of my immediate reality and our economy.


Blogger Trekkie4Ever said...

Not a lot of people would have taken the time to help like you did. I am more than positive they appreciated. The shock must have been tremendous.

You have a frightening job and I hope you will stay safe.

God bless you for your dedication.

Sun Aug 22, 03:18:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bushwack said...

BZ, Although I am glad you are on the job, I must say this: It is high time you GTFO. You've put in your time, you got a pretty good pension coming and you don't need to risk it because of these asshats. The people that are causing you the grief are our elected officials in a very personal way.

I don't know how close you are to retirement, but for GOD sake be careful.

I don't work in a dangerous place because of people, my position requires me to act as psych warden to wussies, motivator to the lazy, mentor to the clueless and caretaker to the aged...And when the cuts take effect because of the business climate, it affects everyone....

Good luck man.

Sun Aug 22, 03:29:00 PM PDT  
Blogger TexasFred said...

I can feel the pain in your words, I guess it comes from *knowing* you the way I do and knowing the dynamics of the job you do...

I have said repeatedly, if I owned Hell and California, I'd sell California and live in Hell...

I don't know how decent people put up with the bullshit that Cali doles out... I really don't...

Sun Aug 22, 05:08:00 PM PDT  
Blogger jinksto said...

Damn, and I wanted to read about Ribs. Unfortunately, your message is a lot more important. It's frustrating to see this on the same page with a post from my brother talking about his trip taking deep water drilling equipment from the Gulf of Mexico to the coast of Africa.

Thanks for what you do. I appreciate it and I know they guys that work for you do.

Sun Aug 22, 05:25:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Well Seasoned Fool said...

What a terrible situation.

Sun Aug 22, 05:38:00 PM PDT  
Blogger David Wyatt said...

I'm glad you were derailed! This was a great, albeit sad post. We're in trouble. But we know why, we've shoved God out of everything, & are seeing the results. I'm praying for you.

Sun Aug 22, 06:29:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Leticia: I have done just about everything one person could possibly do in law enforcement. I have worked in the federal system for the FBI and US Marshals. I have worked for another California county as a deputy/coroner before I settled into my current job as a deputy sheriff and Sergeant for my current central California agency. I have worked first in the jails and then in Patrol as a deputy and a Field Training Officer. I tested for and then promoted to detectives, and worked in Theft, Warrants, Child Abuse, Robbery and, finally, Homicide.

I helped to create and WROTE, from SCRATCH, our entire full-time driver training unit in 1998. Everything I wrote was copied and used to create new driver training units for two other local agencies as well. Verbatim.

Our pursuit policy, which I re-wrote ENTIRELY in 1987 because of its outdated basis (and I am NOT an attorney) was held in question by state courts, appealed federally into the Ninth Circuit under 42 USC 1983 and then examined by the Supreme Court of the United States from a 1990 incident that resulted in COUNTY OF SACRAMENTO v. LEWIS (96-1337)
98 F.3d 434, reversed

The policy that I wrote was not found wanting.

I am proud of everything that I have done and have few regrets professionally. I have served my country and my community. I have upheld the Constitution of my state and the Constitution of the United States of America, confirming the oath that I took three times. Actually four times.

Bush: I am within roughly a year, I determine, of retirement. I am what I call a Silverback. Every agency and industry and entity needs a Silverback. We hold the institutional memories for our organizations. We call our organizations on stupid moves. We remind our organizations of their history. We are the Inconvenient Truths of our organizations. Because we have Been There and Done That and, worse yet, we have Memories and Know Where The Bodies Are Buried.

TF: it's such a beautiful state, physically. But it's become such a tortured bastard by its politicians on both sides of the aisle.

WSF: you don't know the half of it.

David: I'll take all the prayers you can send our way. And don't send them to me; relatively speaking I'll be MUCH better off than our current set of deputies. I'll be retiring soon. These young kids will have to deal with the scum, slime, scrotes and crap in the future.

I wish I could say I was assured they were fully up to the task.


Sun Aug 22, 08:19:00 PM PDT  
Blogger CJ said...

You, sir, are a good man. Retirement can't come fast enough, I'm sure but I'm thankful that those young troops have you as a role model. They're lucky.


Sun Aug 22, 08:54:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Old NFO said...

BZ- bottom line, YOU need to stay safe... IF that means bail, then bail, you did right by the people, unlike the bosses!

Sun Aug 22, 09:48:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Beth said...

Keep the faith, BZ

Mon Aug 23, 04:43:00 AM PDT  
Blogger mrchuck said...

You did write about ribs.
Your own ribs.
This is what is holding your workplace together.
Yeah, your own ribs.

I can see thru your eyes, and feel thru your own words, how much you care about the gladiators under your command.

Keep the spirit commander.
They are going to need you more when the shit hits the fan, and it may happen sooner than we think.

Mon Aug 23, 11:55:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Z said...

we'll be losing more and more of the good guys...unless you're the only one left, which I could believe :-(

Mon Aug 23, 02:59:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

cj: as I wrote, relatively speaking I'll be a lot better off than my troops will be at their retirement. It's a struggle to go there every day; every supervisor, every deputy feels that way too. They've watched their captain bail out with his parachute; they know their Sheriff is going soon with his Golden Parachute as well. And they know they're left behind.

Jinksto: thanks for your kind words indeed.

NFO: I'm way past the point where I could have retired -- like at least ten years past the point where many opt to retire. It just pains me to watch my department disintegrate, training cease, and the line level take the hits.

Beth: I'm trying, but it's a day-to-day struggle.

MrC: thank you and yes, you're correct, it may come sooner than we all think. I'm trying to prepare my troopers for the worst; sometimes it simply comes off as pessimism. I try to frame it in terms of preparedness.

Z: there are good troops left, but Institutional Memory is fleeing and many of our new troopers simply don't know how to do a lot of things necessary, because my PC-ridden department hasn't demanded the proper training of its young talent.

That point right there could consume me with an entirely separate post, about my department and law enforcement in general. I may go there; I may not. . .


Mon Aug 23, 04:16:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Toaster 802 said...

One wonders if there should be a new Sheriff in town...Sheriff BZ?

If not, do not ride this bitch in. Reach, pull the handle and bail. Then move to somewhere where you can avoid the imploding state.

Mon Aug 23, 08:10:00 PM PDT  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

Mr. Z - It is not good hearing of those problems.

Once you retire you skill set can get you ready employment in nearly any sane State. There may be losses involved, but how long that bottle of nitro that is CA will be there is now getting to be an urgent question.

Stay safe and realize that if it blows you cannot put it back together alone.

Tue Aug 24, 06:51:00 PM PDT  

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