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  • Writer's pictureLocal 685 Executive Board

From the Desk of President Ford

Sisters and Brothers,

 

Thank you so much for loving and caring about me. While in Sacramento, I experienced a medical emergency that landed me in the hospital. Putting it lightly, I am so blessed to be above ground. I can’t go into much detail, but I can say this: The Local 685 Executive Board responded quickly by flying my wife to Sacramento so she could be by my side while I received medical treatment. I can’t thank them enough.

 

My wife and I are celebrating 36 years of marriage this month and I am so blessed to have such a wonderful woman by my side. She and I are best friends and love each other unconditionally. My grown children were also by my side and are currently watching over me.

 

While in the hospital, one of my nurses came to my bed and asked me who I was. I gave her my name. She said, “No, who are you? Are you a politician, a You Tuber, what?” I didn’t understand. She said, “You’re getting over 150 calls from Los Angeles County.” There was a pause, and then I responded by saying, “Well, I am the president of my union, Local 685, but that is not a big deal, I’m just the president.”

 

Sisters and Brothers, as I am writing this I am in tears. The love you have shown to me is overwhelming. Thank you so much for caring about me. On behalf of my family, we thank you so much. I am still in recovery mode, but Jesus is where I get my strength from, and I can do all things through Christ. Now, let us get down to business.

 

This near-death experience has put ANOTHER fight in me. I cannot fight this fight by myself so get in the ring with me and let’s get this done. Just so you know, it is God who gives me the vision as your leader. I then share the vision with the Executive Board and membership. TOGETHER, we implement the vision.

 

We have been maligned by the media. People from all walks of life have said horrible things about us. We are seen as horrible people. But this too shall pass.

 

It’s time to fight back. We cannot be scared to fight back or worry about being fired. If we do not stand up for ourselves no one else will fight on our behalf. Look at what happened at our general membership meeting on Thursday May 9, 2024. The membership voted to implement a campaign to use the media to help us regain our respect. We are going to tell our story of what we do and who we are as probation officers. Nothing negative, all positive.

 

Here is what I need from you. PLEASE let us know your story of what good deed you are doing with our clients. For example, DPO Kimberly Goodwin at Camp Paige has a program where she braids the client’s hair. By braiding the young men’s hair, self-esteem is built. It also builds a rapport with the clients. When they look good, they feel good and when they feel good, they act good. She does this by spending her own money on hair products. But it is worth doing. Because of this program, the clients trust DPO Goodwin, and she is able to calm them down when they are upset. Not only that, but they also see her as someone they can speak with when they are depressed or just need some motherly advice.

 

These are the types of stories we need to put out there so the public can have a positive opinion of us. The area offices have resource fairs where the community and clients can get information on mental health and medical services. The POs give out food and clothes to those who are in need.

 

There are many more stories like these we need to get out there. If you have a story, please send it to us via union email ASAP. We need to regain the trust of the public. We need to get our stories out there NOW. I will be talking about this over the next several months. This must be a big push from the union membership and the department. All unions must push this.

 

This is the first step in fighting back. I will talk more about the other steps in the next article. Stand by. Send your stories via union email to sford@afscme685.com or Vice President cchambers@afscme685.com

 

WHEN WE FIGHT, WE WIN | WE ARE 685

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