COB Ten Year Plan

 The Future of the Correction Operations Bureau:
The Monterey County Sheriff’s Office is in dire need of new leadership, a new vision and a strategic
plan for the future. It needs leadership focused on fighting crime, and not fighting within the
department. It needs a renewed focus on our mission of protecting and serving the public.
I have outlined my 10 year plan on my website but I haven’t gone into detail on my plan for the COB.
The Monterey County Sheriff’s Office must provide public safety but first and foremost, we must
maintain the Monterey County Jail. The following are my main objectives.
Employee Safety
My main objective is to ensure the safety of the deputies and all employees of the jail. Deputy assaults in
the last three years have risen dramatically. This is unacceptable and nothing is being done to prevent the
next assault on jail deputies. The time has come to put YOUR safety first!
Empowering the Deputies
We are tasked to ensure the safety of the inmates and we can do that without giving in to their threats of
lawsuits. In order to effectively do our job of ensuring the safety of our inmates, it is essential for
Deputies to be empowered to maintain the integrity of the jail and enforce departmental policies without
the fear of being sent to Internal Affairs every time an inmate complains. With Supervisors in place to
handle idle threats and complaints, I will ensure that only situations in which it appears that a Deputy has
broken the law will be passed on to I.A.
The number one priority of the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office will be to make sure we are doing all
we can to ensure we are fully staffed at the jail. This means continually recruiting until all positions are
filled. Once all positions are filled we must plan for attrition and ensure we don’t fall behind on staffing.
Deputies are our best recruiters, if you enjoy the job you do, you will encourage others to come work with
Schedule and Shift Issues
There are a multitude of questions that I am sure you’ve all been asking yourselves: Why did we change
the COB schedules and shifts? Were the 12 hour shifts not working? Why did we change the swing
day? What happened to the benefit of having seniority within the department? Because of the arbitrary
decisions of our current administration, working conditions at the jail are unacceptable to say the least. I
can assure you that I understand your frustration, and plan to do all that I can to address it and change it!
In recognition of your dedication to your career with the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department,
Deputies should be rewarded with weekends off and given priority on vacation sign-ups based on
seniority. Any changes to this policy should be unanimously decided on by the employees; management
should not be allowed to arbitrarily dictate your schedules!
Having spent the first three years of my career in COB, I understand the importance of taking a break
during the work day when you’re on your feet 10-16 hours per day for four days straight wearing combat
boots and duty gear. I was surprised to learn that Deputies are not being permitted to leave the jail for
their lunch break and that they are being charged for meals at the jail. This is unacceptable and, I assure
you, I will address this and we will make changes that are acceptable to everyone!
Civilianizing the Jail
I believe that the control towers should be staffed by Deputies. Hiring civilian personnel to work in the
control towers and reallocating Deputies from these positions to work floors to compensate for lack of
staffing and to save money creates an officer safety issue. The solution to this problem is simple – I would
implement the staffing objective detailed above, forge a stronger relationship with the Board of
Supervisors, develop and present a written plan emphasizing the importance of increased staffing within
the jail.
Encourage Deputy Training, Career Development, and Input
I believe in the importance of offering Deputies the option (on a purely volunteer basis) to sign up for
additional training – whether it is cross-training to make them more versatile thereby enabling them to
work anywhere in the office, or it is to acquire skills needed for career advancement. I believe an
additional pay step would be in order for a cross trained deputy and stipends for specific training and
I will strive to provide more opportunities for career advancement within COB. I believe that our future
Chiefs, Under-Sheriff, and Sheriff should come from within the Sheriff’s Office, and will do all that I can
to encourage everyone that wants to be a leader to prove their ability.
Over the years I have seen deputies with great ideas for improvement, only to have their ideas fall on deaf
ears. I believe we need to encourage participation in positive change. I believe that YOUR voice matters –
your participation and opinions are key components to our ability to institute positive change.
A concern regarding Bailiffs being rotated back into the jail against the Judge’s wishes has been brought
to my attention. I would like to assure you that I believe in the importance of instituting a policy that
would allow Bailiffs to stay with a judge for as long as they, or the judge, would like.
Lastly I would like to say I am against AB-109 (prison realignment). I would partner with legislators
who oppose prison realignment and work to put dangerous felons back where they belong, IN PRISON!
Sheriff Miller supports AB-109 and thus is turning our county jail into a prison, housing long term violent
felons who have nothing better to do than figure out ways to end your career, or worse yet, see to it you
don’t make it home from your shift to ever see your families again.
These are my thoughts today based on information I have gathered from COB deputies. A 10 year plan is
fluid and continually needs to be updated and re-evaluated. It’s a starting point to get us pointed in the
right direction. Today it is my plan, but as we evolve and move forward, TOGETHER we will make it
OUR PLAN. An organization is set to fail if it doesn’t have a plan to follow.
Since 1850, the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office has progressed into what I believe is one of the finest
Sheriff’s Office in the United States of America. The last 3 years we have lost our sense of direction and
leadership. We must regain control of our sheriff’s office and make it a place we can all be proud of.
I look forward to gathering additional input from COB Deputies, and to working together to further
develop and implement OUR 10-year plan. Please feel free to call me anytime if you have any questions.
Be safe!
Steve Bernal