Nearly 100 Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies called in sick yesterday, the second day of a “sickout” that has disrupted hundreds of criminal cases and forced Los Angeles Police Department officers off patrol to fill in, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Some 1,800 defendants were not taken to courthouses as scheduled in the last two days. The Sheriff’s Department bused 1,250 inmates to court yesterday, giving priority to defendants already on trial or whose trials had to begin.
Deputies are in contract negotiations with Los Angeles County. The pay contract expired in January; the contract dealing with benefits and retirement expires next Tuesday.
A union official said deputies are frustrated because their ranks are down and many deputies are having to work forced overtime. Of about 250 deputies altogether in the transportation division, 103 called in sick Monday and 93 called in sick yesterday.
Because sheriff’s buses require licensed bus drivers, many inmates traveled in patrol cars and vans. “It’s not the same level of service we provide on a daily basis, but we are finding other ways of meeting the need,” said a sheriff’s office commander.