LOS ANGELES, CA (BlackNews.com) — Our communities owe so much to the dedicated officers of the Probation Department, a hard-working and vital component of public safety whose life-changing efforts have not received the level of recognition they deserve. However, with those achievements in mind, on last Friday, the Los Angeles County Deputy Probation Officers Union, AFSCME Local 685, hosted the organizations’ 15th Annual Scholarship and Awards Banquet. The union presented scholarship awards to youth and honored outstanding Probation Officers. Hopefully, other organizations as well as the general public will follow AFSCME’s model to show that we value the heartfelt contributions of the men and women in the Los Angeles County probation department.
The Master of Ceremonies for this event was Monterey Park City Councilmember and Local 685 First Vice President Hans Liang. Liang clearly expressed Local 685’s gratitude stating, “This year, we are boldly declaring that, as a community, we are highlighting probation officers as the heart of Los Angeles County. Together, we are honoring the values and qualities of success in our profession. We are also proud to honor educators, health care workers, fire fighters, law enforcement officers, and all those who keep our community safe.”
The partnership between probation officers and judicial officials is an important one in keeping our communities safe, The Los Angeles County Probation Officers Union, AFSCME Local 685 recently awarded The Honorable John C. Lawson II who is the current Supervising Judge of the Juvenile Delinquency Courts for Los Angeles County, has been awarded its Leadership Award.
Judge Lawson spent 19-years in the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office. Throughout his career, he has been committed to the accountability and rehabilitation of at-risk youth, He worked with the Long Beach School District to launch the Superior Court Teen Court program at Cabrillo High School. He participates in the Long Beach Gang Reduction, Intervention, and Prevention Project (LB GRIP). This program is a collaboration with the city, community based programs, law enforcement and schools to provide life skills development and counseling for at-risk youth and adults. Judge Lawson’s chamber door is always open to speak to young people and he routinely goes to schools to talk about the court system and making the right choices in life.
Deputy Probation Officer James Blanton explained, “One morning when I came to work, I noticed that one of my young charges was in tears, so I sat with him to see how I could help him. He began to tell me about his younger brother Jaylen’s rare form of bone cancer, which was terminal that was the cause of his distress. I decided to petition the court so that he could visit his brother. Granting him the chance to see Jaylen, helped to transform the young man in our camp into a different person. He began to talk about the responsibilities he now felt for his family and discussed ways of helping his mother.” These kinds of actions demonstrate the caring and thoughtfulness that the officers in our probation department have for the communities they serve.
Deputy Probation Officer Claire Roberson-Brown has been recognized by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for her activism with at-risk youth. For years DPO Roberson- Brown has been a Probation Officer advocating with various Board of Supervisors Deputies, promoting the good work of the Los Angeles County Probation staff. It was not until she met with the Supervisor Hilda Solis’ Children’s Deputy and forged a relation that her work came to the attention of Supervisor Solis. The Children’s Deputy came to the 2017 College Summit event and reported back to Supervisor Solis. Supervisor Hilda Solis then agreed to be the keynote speaker at the 2018 College Summit. At that event she praised the efforts of the probation staff and awarded several youth, with a Commendation signed by all five Board of Supervisors. DPO Claire Roberson-Brown has truly been a model probation officer and an inspiration to her peers.
Deputy Probation Officer Tiffany Esqueda, was a part of a program entitled “Shop with A Cop,” for ten years. This program was created for youth in the West Covina area who were disadvantage during the holiday season. The program consisted of taking selected youth to the local Target store in the community and spending $500.00 to buy things that they needed and a few items that they wanted, giving them a nice holiday like other kids in their age group. After going shopping, we would take the selected youth and volunteers to the Red Robin Restaurant where they also enjoyed a free lunch. School Base. Currently she is a staff assistant in the child trafficking unit. She has been previously recognized for her outstanding work.
Deputy Probation Officer Maryam Munir-Morris was raised in a union household, her grandfather was an executive board member of the United Rubber Worker, Local 44. Before her work with the County Probation Department, Maryam served as the chief shop steward for the National Association of Letter Carriers Angel City branch NO. 24. Where she worked for 10 years as a letter carrier. So when she joined the ranks of Los Angeles County Probation, she also became active in the Probation Officers Union, AFSCME Local 685. Deputy Probation Officer Munir-Morris also wanted to become the best steward not just in mere words, but in practice, representing and defending the interests of workers for the Probation Department. Deputy Probation Officer Munir-Morris also has a Master Degree in criminal Justice. This is meant to keep abreast of new laws and regulation pertaining to the county department.
Deputy Probation Officer Richard Bachofner became a member of the L.A. County Probation Department family in 1998. He entered the Special Enforce Operations unit, the probation armed division in the middle of his probation career. In 2013, he completed a firearms instructor course in Fresno, CA. with the Fresno County Sheriff Department. Since 2013 he has been one of two Range/Firearms instructors in the history of the Department. He is currently responsible for teaching monthly firearms training for approximately one hundred armed Probation officers.
2018 is a pivotal year for peace officers, as we face escalating danger in our public safety work. It is our profound hope that the efforts of these extraordinary Probation Officers to secure calm in our communities receive greater recognition from the public which they serve so devotedly.
For more details about the Los Angeles County Deputy Probation Officers Union, AFSCME Local 685, visit www.afscmelocal685.com