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San Bernardino still struggling 20-months after shooting

Stuart Spear23/08/2017 - 16:41

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Victims of the San Bernardino shooting
Victims of the San Bernardino shooting

Twenty months after the San Bernardino shootings where 14 mostly environmental health employees died the county is still suffering a staffing shortfall requiring temporary employees to fill the gap.

A meeting of the County’s Board of Supervisors earlier this month agreed to end the emergency proclamation declared immediately after the shooting in December 2015 enabling the county to access state and federal funds to recoup some of the costs associated with the attack and recovery efforts.

The meeting also agreed that it would continue to seek state funding to fill the staffing shortfall resulting from the mass shooting that left 14 dead and 22 others wounded.   

In one of the worst terrorist attacks on mainland America since 9/11, health inspector Syed Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik, who pledged allegiance to ISIS on Facebook before the killing, opened fire at a training session and Christmas party for the county’s environmental health division.

Thirteen of the fourteen victims were environmental health staff including restaurant inspectors, pool inspectors, plan checkers, solid waste inspectors and office staff.

Mr Farook had been at the training session with his work colleagues when he left for 20 minutes returning with his wife armed with assault rifles and opened fire on about 70 county employees. Both were killed later in a shootout with police.

In December, a day of memorial events was carried out in memory of dead colleagues.

Following the shooting the county made security upgrades to all its facilities while providing extended paid leave for all its 100 environmental health staff. Retired staff along with employees from other county offices were drafted in to cover the staff losses.

A county spokesperson said that despite $8.5 million having been allocated to cover the county’s expenses after the shooting red tape had meant that very little had actually been paid out.

One example is how out of the $2.8 million allocated to the county’s emergency response following the attack only $165,000 had been received.

The Board of Supervisors voted earlier this month to seek reimbursements from the state Office of Emergency Services to cover temporary contract employees despite the decision to end the emergency proclamation.    


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