President’s Message

Mike Durant
PORAC President

Training Symposium in San Diego

Your PORAC Executive Committee met last month in San Diego at the Bahia Resort Hotel in conjunction with our PORAC Training and Labor Symposium. During the meeting, the members present discussed many aspects of PORAC, including our lobbying trip to Washington, D.C., two weeks prior.

There were over 240 members at the Symposium, including representatives of your PORAC Executive Committee and many others who registered at the door. PORAC Training and Labor Consultant Claude Alber did a great job of putting together the best speakers available, covering the most up-to-date information for all of you. As many of you noticed during Symposium, PORAC is working toward getting all of our training, including the Symposium, POST-certified for CPT points. Special thanks to Vice President Brent Meyer and Claude Alber for making this happen. Also, thank you to all of the instructors for assisting PORAC in making this year’s Symposium our largest and one of the best ever!

PORAC advocate Randy Perry started off the training by providing an in-depth analysis of the current legislation facing law enforcement. Following Randy was a presentation by LDF Chairman Fred Rowbotham and LDF Administrator Ed Fishman, along with LDF Trustees Barry Donelan and DJ Wozniak. They gave a great update on the status of the PORAC Legal Defense Fund, as well as discussing the best way possible for your association to curtail costs associated with LDF usage.

On the afternoon of the first day, Amy Brown (Public Retirement Journal) brought us her perspective on pensions and takeaways from public employees. One of the best things about Amy and her presentations is how she engages our members in discussions about all of the subjects. This year was no different.

The second day of training started with Rick Pinckard and Brad Fields discussing cellphone privacy and First Amendment issues surrounding public safety. Rick and Brad are very knowledgeable on both of these subjects, as well as being expert attorneys for our LDF. They provided those in attendance with an array of insights on their specific topics.

On the afternoon of the second day of training, Rick Braziel, retired Sacramento Police Chief and a representative of the Police Foundation, discussed the San Bernardino terrorist attack. Rick gave a detailed account of the facts surrounding the horrific event that claimed 14 lives. The members present listened intently to both presentations, and it was clear that all of them were completely engaged in the aftermath of this tragedy.

California Peace Officers’ Memorial Ceremony

In May, memorial ceremonies are held throughout the United States to honor the brave peace officers who have laid down their lives in sacrifice for the safety of the citizens they are sworn to protect. Many of your elected representatives of PORAC will be in attendance for the California ceremony, as well as National Police Week in Washington, D.C. The general public may not give these ceremonies the same consideration that all of us do. They may not be fully aware of the risks that a peace officer faces on the job each and every day. The first recorded killing of a peace officer was in 1792. Since then, there have been more than 19,950 peace officers killed in the line of duty. Their names are engraved on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. We know these are not just names. They represent mothers, fathers, sons, daughters and many other relatives, and include our friends, partners and co-workers. These were the peace officers we could count on — not only those of us in the law enforcement family, but all of the citizens of the United States — and they gave their lives for all of us. Nobody had to ask them to lay down their lives for the sake of others. They just did; it comes with the responsibility, duty and honor of wearing the badge. As long as this profession asks you to wear a bulletproof vest, strap on a gun and deliberately put yourself in harm’s way to protect others, there will be peace officers killed in the line of duty. This is the price we may be asked to pay so that the citizens of California and throughout this great country will have a safer place to live, work, raise their families and prosper.

May is also the month when we remember and honor those who have given their lives to preserve the freedom and safety of our nation. Memorial Day is when we honor the veterans of military service who laid down their lives in times of war for their country and our freedom. Remember, freedom is not free; it comes with a heavy price of personal sacrifice. Please keep all members of our United States military, our fallen peace officers and their families in your thoughts and prayers during this month and throughout the year.