Law Enforcement Under Attack
Throughout history, but much more notably over the past few years, we have seen law enforcement become targets for radical individuals hell-bent on causing mayhem in our communities. The common denominator in all the incidents across our country is that peace officers have been targeted for merely doing our job of protecting the public. Many of the pundits who question the actions of law enforcement continue to defend the thugs who are committing the crimes in our communities. They are quick to condemn our actions, but have never been placed in situations where decisions must come in nanoseconds.
Now more than ever, all of law enforcement must come together to protect our safety and publicize the good work we do on a daily basis. During a recent meeting in Sacramento of law enforcement association stakeholders, all of those present recommended PORAC as the primary conduit for gathering information to put together a positive message on behalf of California law enforcement. PORAC will be working with Marketplace Communications on how best to deliver that message.
Two years ago, during our Conference of Members, a bylaw passed to raise funds specifically to battle any pension-related issues facing PORAC or our member associations. With these additional funds secured, we are now better prepared to take on future fights to protect all of our vested benefits.
PORAC, along with many other state organizations, will continue to push back against those trying to unhinge our pension benefits or get any pension initiative on the ballot. With that said, all of us need to remain cognizant that although we were able to keep several pension initiatives off of the ballot two years ago, there is no doubt in our minds and the minds of our advocates that a similar initiative will be headed our way in the coming years.
State and National Legislative Advocacy
Our legislative advocacy firm at Aaron Read & Associates (ARA), led by Aaron Read and Randy Perry, once again did a great job of navigating PORAC through some of the toughest legislation in recent years in Sacramento. With the animosity against public safety continuing to build across the country, it seemed the fights came almost on a daily basis.
Legislators continue to reach out to PORAC for everything related to public safety, sometimes several times in a day, to discuss ideas, proposed legislation or amendments on current legislation. ARA monitors all relevant bills as they go through the Legislature and keeps PORAC up to date. As always, Aaron has put together an unbelievable staff, namely Michele Cervone, that has constantly put PORAC members before anything else on their radar. Aaron has always said that loyalty means everything. He and his firm are the most loyal and trusted advocates. Everyone at ARA deserves the utmost thanks and commendation for their dedication to our membership.
Several years ago, PORAC changed our advocacy firm in Washington, D.C., to Steptoe & Johnson. Since the inception of this new relationship, PORAC has repeatedly been raising our name identification with not only our congressional delegation in California and Nevada, but also many committees responsible for providing federal law enforcement funding.
This year, representatives of your PORAC Board of Directors traveled to Washington, D.C., in both April and September to advocate our positions on public safety issues. Darryl Nirenberg, along with Jason Abel, Eva Rigamonti and Cameron O’Brien, did an outstanding job of coordinating meetings with our elected legislators and select committees, and provided PORAC with the most up-to-date legislative program. Throughout the past several years, they and their firm have elevated PORAC to a much higher level of recognition. Representatives and senators, as well as committee members, are contacting us for our input on federal policies related to public safety.
Lastly, I would like to commend all of our staff for once again doing a fantastic job of putting on one of the best conferences PORAC has even seen. More than anything, our staff works for each of you to ensure that all of your needs are met throughout the course of the year. Kim Busman, our Finance and Administrative Manager, has done a great job of running the office, as well as coordinating our day-to-day activities at Conference. We also thank Labor and Training Coordinator Claude Alber, Membership Services Representative Angie Gonzales, Communications Coordinator Chris Steele, RAM Representative Tori Tillman, Administrative Assistant Pamela Reay and Accounting Clerk Shon Sharma.
I hope all of you have a very happy holiday season and a merry Christmas!