COMMITTEE PROFILE: Specialized Police Associations Coalition (SPAC)


P.J. Webb (chairman)
Region III, Los Angeles School Police Management Association

Michael Maximovich
Region I, Santa Clara County Park Rangers Association

Jim Bock
Region II, San Joaquin Delta College Police Management Association

Danielle Ferrara
Region IV, San Diego County Public Assistance Investigators Association

Want to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes at PORAC? We’re turning the spotlight on each of the specialized committees that are working hard to serve our members. This month, we focus on the SPAC Committee.

 If you’re a member of specialized law enforcement — such as school police, airport police, correctional officers, district attorney investigators or probation officers — PORAC’s SPAC Committee is looking out for you.

Members of the Specialized Police Associations Coalition (SPAC) are “associations who obtain their authority by any section other than 830.1 or 830.2 of the Penal Code,” explains SPAC Chairman P.J. Webb. “This committee works toward bettering the working conditions of specialized law enforcement while always considering the impacts on law enforcement as a whole.”

Currently, the committee is working on legislative proposals that include “the role of custodial officers, eliminating the minimum number of police supervisors employed by a school district in order for those supervisors to have their own bargaining unit, requiring public charter schools to pay their fair share of the costs for a public school district to maintain a police department and extending workers’ compensation presumptions to all full-time sworn peace officers in the state,” Webb says.

“This past year — mainly due to the highly publicized school shootings early on — we saw a large number of bills surface in our state and federal legislatures impacting SPAC and all PORAC members,” he reports. “With the help of PORAC and our experts from Aaron Read and Associates, we were able to stop some very poor legislation from getting enacted,” or to amend bills to mitigate harmful effects.

Lately, “there has been a concerted effort among various community justice reform groups to reduce and/or eliminate police on school campuses. PORAC has been very supportive in countering such attacks on school safety and on our members’ livelihoods,” Webb says. “We anticipate this will be an ongoing subtext from what we have seen statewide and nationally regarding restorative justice efforts in criticizing law enforcement and harming the rights of victims and their families.”

SPAC is made up of four representatives — one active member from each region — appointed by the PORAC president and subject to the Board’s approval. The president, with input and recommendations from the committee and member associations, appoints one of those region representatives as committee chair, Webb says.

Former PORAC President Mike Durant appointed Webb as the Region III SPAC representative and committee chairman in May 2017. “I truly enjoy advocating on behalf of SPAC and PORAC,” he says. “These are difficult times for all of us and I am honored to play a role in defending the future of law enforcement.”

Committee members meet once a year, at the Annual Conference of Members, and video conferencing is now available. As chairman, Webb says he attends meetings of the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee and is often invited to participate in the fly-ins to Washington, D.C., and other lobbying events.

Webb would like to “nurture relationships with all of our law enforcement partners so we can work together on issues affecting our working conditions, legislation and public safety.” Too often, he says, “our law enforcement brothers and sisters serving in traditional law enforcement agencies” don’t quite understand specialized law enforcement’s roles and contributions to public safety.

Future goals include “having more involvement with our PORAC leadership on the national stage regarding issues with specialized law enforcement. We also look forward to working on ways to better engage our SPAC membership through more frequent meetings, better communication with our SPAC associations and networking with all PORAC members.”

Through PORAC, SPAC members’ extensive knowledge and experience of “law enforcement, lobbying, collective bargaining, or almost anything else” can be tapped into throughout the state, Webb notes. “One thing I learned long ago is that it is very rare to encounter a situation where there isn’t someone else, somewhere, who has not experienced something similar. By networking and communicating, we can learn from each other’s experiences to find better solutions.”