Last month, your PORAC Executive Committee met in Sacramento. During the meeting, we were briefed by our advocates Aaron Read and Randy Perry, as well as PORAC Legal Defense Administrator Ed Fishman on current legislation and also our plan moving forward regarding the implementation of the RIPA regulations. Aaron, Randy and Ed have been working in the background with the California Department of Justice (DOJ) to craft language that best protects our members and their identities when the information gathered from your local agency is transmitted to the DOJ. Although there is nothing set legislatively, know that PORAC and all of our advocates are working diligently with California State Sheriffs’, Cal Chiefs and the CHP to protect all of law enforcement in California. No other organization has done anything regarding RIPA and AB 953 implementation to assist these four groups in protecting California law enforcement. (Yeah, you didn’t miss a thing!)
As the summer begins to peak, so do all of the shenanigans that happen in the California Legislature. Having attended several committee meetings and hearings at the Capitol this past month, I am no longer surprised when bills get gutted and amended with language that had nothing to do with the original version or, even worse, when the language is innocuous or seemly disguised to not draw any attention. Thankfully, PORAC has the best of the best in Aaron Read and Randy Perry (and the entire team at Aaron Read & Associates) to protect all of us during these trying times. I would like to once again thank both of them and Ed Fishman for their tireless work in watching our backs on all of these legislative issues.
In early July, shortly after our Executive Committee meeting, PORAC participated in another RIPA meeting, this one in San Diego. Prior to the meeting, PORAC, with clear direction from Aaron, Randy and Ed, made a decision to continue participating in all of the RIPA hearings — but now we are clearly outnumbered on the board and have next to no chance of getting our opinions considered. So we have decided, along with our other three partners, to continue working directly with the DOJ and our legislators to create legislative language that will address the sections in AB 953 that created the RIPA Board.
PORAC was notified in early July that Executive Committee member James Gonzales (San Jose POA) would be stepping down from his PORAC duties as Executive Committee Representative for Region I. I would like to commend James for all of the work he has done to assist his fellow San Jose POA members as well as all of PORAC. We will be holding a special election to replace James on the Executive Committee. His term expires at Conference in November 2018.
PORAC Director Mike McGrew Retires
Lastly, I would like to congratulate a very good friend on his retirement. Mike McGrew, Santa Barbara POA and PORAC Tri-Counties Director, retired last month after a long and distinguished career with the Santa Barbara Police Department. PORAC representatives Anthony Sanders, Virginia Tinoco, Roger Garcia, Javier Antunez and I all had the opportunity to attend Mike’s retirement celebration, along with about 300 other community leaders from around Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.
Although PORAC or I, in particular, may not always mention it, PORAC is very proud of our retirees and we congratulate them all on a successful career in law enforcement. Mike McGrew is just a little different. Mike and I spent our careers together in both law enforcement and our local association leadership. Throughout his career, Mike has faced many obstacles, both personally and professionally. Several years ago, Mike’s son lost a long battle with cancer. As his career was winding down a few years ago, Mike himself was diagnosed with cancer. Through it all, Mike put his faith in God and persevered. To this day, he is a rock for his members, both at Santa Barbara POA and the Santa Barbara Police Foundation. I recently called Mike and received his voicemail message. It no longer said, “You have reached Sergeant Mike McGrew.” It now says, “You have reached Pastor Mike McGrew.” What an inspiration to all of us. Thank you, Mike, for your dedication to all of PORAC and the law enforcement community.