Within 60 days, the department should make the following amendments to its policies and procedures for OPS:
-Clarify who is responsible for deciding whether to make district attorney referrals.
-Clarify that the final decision to initiate a specialized medical examination for an alleged victim of sexual assault rests with OPS, not with health care staff.
-Require OPS investigators to document their efforts to communicate with alleged victims of abuse, including nonverbal clients, and require supervisors to verify that such efforts have been made when approving investigation reports.
-Direct its investigators to record the potential violations of law or facility policy they identify and consider during each investigation.
DDS implemented this recommendation. OPS developed a draft policy manual in mid-July 2013 utilizing OPS personnel and external law enforcement consultants. Prior to its release, the Department entered into a two-year Interagency Agreement for a California Highway Patrol (CHP) Chief to lead OPS. The new OPS Chief has reviewed the draft manual, consisting of 50 policies, and is consulting with legal experts specializing in law enforcement to ensure it is consistent with current law enforcement best practices; federal, state, and local laws; and court decisions that affect law enforcement operations and investigations.
Additionally, the new Chief of OPS issued a directive on August 30, 2013 reiterating the following:
When a resident is a suspect, a meeting between the Deputy Director of the Department's Developmental Center's Division, the Chief of OPS, and the Executive Director must be held prior to referral of a case to the District Attorney. The final decision authority rests with the Chief of OPS.
OPS has the final determination on whether to send a potential victim for a forensic medical examination, after consulting with the treating physician.
Investigators must note the resident or victim's diagnosis, Activities of Daily Living capabilities, and any information concerning the resident's ability to be interviewed. Additionally, the investigator must document in their report all measures taken to communicate with the individual.
OPS employees must note potential violations at the start of each investigation; reconcile with final violations (if any); and ensure reports clearly articulate how the evidence substantiates the violation.
Agency responses received are posted verbatim.