City Council


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Meeting Date: 08/03/2020  
Submitted By: Adam Foster, Captain

That the City Council approve and authorize the Police Chief to submit the City of La Habra Police Department’s response to the 2019-2020 Orange County Grand Jury report entitled: “Protecting Those Who Protect and Serve.
The La Habra Police Department received a copy of the 2019-2020 Orange County Grand Jury report entitled: “Protecting Those Who Protect and Serve.” (Attachment 1) As noted in the Grand Jury report, “It is common knowledge that law enforcement personnel have a stressful job. They are subjected to tragic situations and occurrences not normally experienced by the general public.”  Further, law enforcement personnel must be of sound body and mind to perform their job effectively.  In response to these stresses and the demands of this profession, both federal and state legislation was enacted in 2019 to address law enforcement mental health (CA Assembly Bill- 1117).

An investigation was conducted in 2019 by the Orange County Grand Jury to examine the ability of Orange County law enforcement agencies to properly use and maintain programs to ensure the mental stability of its peace officers. The Grand Jury investigation consisted of several connected elements, including in-person interviews of personnel from all Orange County law enforcement agencies, online reviews, document research, and critical analysis of peer support programs.  The Grand Jury also interviewed leading experts in the field who specialize on peer support programs. 

The Grand Jury's report made the following six findings:
  1. Peer Support Programs are effective in helping Peace Officers develop healthy coping techniques for themselves and families.
  2. A written policy documenting each agency’s Peer Support Program helps to ensure the program’s continuation as turnover in staff occurs.
  3. The benefits in the peer support statute, effective January 1, 2020, are important to Peace Officers and Peer Support Team members
  4. It is important that Peer Support Team members receive periodic training.
  5. Allocating a specific budget line item for Peer Support Programs helps to ensure adequate training and continuation of programs.
  6. The continuous communication of information about the Peer Support Program to Peace Officers is important as it increases awareness and use of the Peer Support Program.
Additionally, the Grand Jury made the following four recommendations:
  1. That the four law enforcement agencies without a written policy on their Peer Support Program institute a policy.
  2. That all Peer Support Programs be in compliance with the peer support statute.
  3. That Peer Support Team members receive periodic training and that completion of training is documented.
  4. That all law enforcement agencies allocate a specific budget line item for their Peer Support Program.
The City is required by law to respond to those Findings and Recommendations contained within the report that are specifically indicated for the City of La Habra Police Department. The City's response must be returned to the Grand Jury no later than September 28, 2020.  The Police Department is in agreement with the findings of the Grand Jury and has implemented each of them.  It should be noted that the Department's Peer Support training is included within the Police Department's general training budget line item. To more specifically identify this particular training element on a going forward basis, the Department will include a new budget line item titled "Peer Support Training" in future budget submissions.  A letter from the Chief of Police responding to the Grand Jury's recommendations and findings has been attached to this report (Attachment 2).
ED 9.1 - Balanced Fiscal Practices
PS 1.4 - Operations and Facilities
Grand Jury Report
Grand Jury Response


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