As you all are aware, a minor passed away at Sylmar yesterday morning. The cause of death has not been officially declared. It has been many years since one of the minors died in our care and it has hit us all very hard…
Members of your Executive Board were either present (Local 685 Field VP Dwight Thompson was deployed at Sylmar) or immediately raced to Sylmar to take care of members. President Hans Liang and Camps VP Stacy Ford joined Thompson shortly after getting notice, and GSN VP Cory Racusin later joined them to have a continuous presence at Sylmar. We also dispatched our Local 685 attorney to provide representation for impacted members.
FAKE NEWS ALERT: We have been informed by the Department that the rumor that seven additional youth overdosed and were resuscitated with Narcan is false.
As we all navigate this tragedy, lets keep immediately impacted co-workers in our hearts, thoughts, and prayers. The members who found the minor unconscious, who engaged in life-saving actions, and who supervised this minor overnight are all devastated.
Although we have been vilified in the press and by the Board of Supervisors as not caring, you could see the trauma in their faces and in their words: We care deeply for the minors we supervise. Every one of us – but most critically the officers at Sylmar –feel the death of this young man as a personal loss, and we are sure that all of you understand this. All staff have been provided counseling by the Department, and that was vitally important.
Despite Local 685 members’ long and solid track record of caring for minors, we know that the press and the Board of Supervisors already are scapegoating us, particularly members working in the halls. Here is a link to the statement we issued yesterday, in which we make clear that the Board of Supervisors has created a critical staffing shortage, and youth and staff are paying the price.
As a family, we know our family members. This is not just a job. Our dedication to the work and the probationers we supervise is our life’s work. Let’s hold each other a little tighter and a little warmer as we work through this tragedy.
Local 685 Executive Board