Law Enforcement Under Attack
Last month, we once again saw horrific attacks on law enforcement, this time in California. On October 5, LASD Sergeant Steve Owen was murdered while responding to a burglary-in-progress call. Just three days later, two officers from Palm Springs P.D. were murdered in cold blood while assisting at a family disturbance call. Officers Jose Gilbert “Gil” Vega and Lesley Zerebny were gunned down by a deranged gang member who was intent on killing police officers. On October 19, Deputy Jack Hopkins was shot and killed responding to a domestic disturbance call.
The common denominator for these incidents, and those throughout our country, is that officers have become a target for doing the job of protecting the public. As the pundits continue to excuse thugs who commit crimes and won’t follow simple directions from law enforcement, we need elected leaders to stand with public safety. We see many of these elected officials standing in front of a camera or on a social media platform questioning every action taken by officers long before any investigation is completed or, in some instances, even started! They are quick to condemn our actions while having never experienced situations where life-and-death decisions must be made in nanoseconds.
Now more than ever, all in public safety must come together to protect each other and highlight the good work that you do daily. PORAC will be working with Marketplace Communications on how best to deliver that message. During a recent meeting in Sacramento of law enforcement association stakeholders, all of those present recommended that PORAC be the primary conduit for gathering information and creating a positive message for California public safety.
PORAC’s Fall Lobbying Trip in D.C.
In recent years, PORAC has broadened its footprint in Washington, D.C., with our advocates Steptoe & Johnson. Members of Congress and both California senators consistently seek out PORAC’s position on all law enforcement issues. This relationship also manifests itself with agencies in the executive branch that seek to consult with PORAC representatives in building and implementing law enforcement programs; the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the COPS Office are two notable examples. Our trip last month included the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), as it begins to consider improvements to the aging 9-1-1 communications system.
With the general election only days away, PORAC has recommended the following positions on state initiatives:
Proposition 57 (Oppose): Increases parole chances for felons convicted of nonviolent crimes and gives them more opportunities to earn credits for good behavior.
Proposition 62 (Oppose): Repeals the state’s death penalty.
Proposition 63 (Oppose): Prohibits possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines and requires individuals to pass a background check and receive authorization from the DOJ in order to purchase ammunition.
Proposition 64 (Oppose): Legalizes marijuana and hemp under state law and enacts certain sales and cultivation taxes.
Proposition 66 (Support): Changes procedures governing state court appeals and petitions challenging death penalty convictions and sentences.
For a complete list of our endorsed candidates as well as our positions on the various initiatives, please go to porac.org.
Are you ready for Conference? PORAC is putting the finishing touches on our 64th Annual Conference of Members (November 17 to November 20) at Disneyland®. During our Conference, your Board of Directors takes time to set our legislative agenda for the next cycle in Sacramento. This is a very important process for the Board, as the legislative agenda then sets an important part of PORAC’s goals for the coming year. During these meetings, many issues and great ideas are discussed. With the expert guidance of Aaron Read and Randy Perry, we manage to navigate through the discussions to come together with a comprehensive packet of proposed legislation for the coming year.
You may wonder how PORAC comes up with some of the proposals in our legislative agenda. The simple answer is that most of the ideas or concepts for legislation come from you, the members. Association leaders and members often present ideas at chapter meetings for either creating a new law or amending a current one. Each of you has great ideas, and your input is vital for the future of public safety. Thank you all for providing your Board the tools necessary to move our agenda forward.
Please keep the families of Sergeant Owen, Officers Vega and Zerebny, Deputy Hopkins and all of our heroes who have given the ultimate sacrifice in your thoughts and prayers.