Welcome to the New Year! I hope you all had a great Christmas and were able to spend time with loved ones to strengthen the bonds of family and friendship. This holiday season, I was able to reflect on my time leading the San Diego Police Officers Association — the successes, the failures and the ideas that took time to come to fruition. I wonder how nine years went by so quickly, but I realize that some of the issues we faced had a dramatic effect on people’s careers and life choices. I know I raised the bar higher than my predecessor, and I wish my successor all the best and hope they raise the bar even higher.
Transitioning Into the Role of President
Once the Thanksgiving holiday was over, I immediately began transitioning with Past President Mike Durant. My first order of business was being sworn in as a new member of the Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory (RIPA) Board for PORAC. As soon as I was seated, I was handed the 2018 Annual Report. This is the first report of the RIPA Board, and California’s first-ever statewide report on racial and identity profiling in law enforcement. Ninety-two pages of joyous reading. Mike has written extensively about the RIPA Board and some of the hurdles that exist for PORAC and peace officers statewide based on its composition. Only four of the possible 19 board members come from law enforcement, and PORAC is the only rank-and-file representative. Even though the numbers don’t reflect a good dynamic, we do have a voice on the board, and as the old adage goes, if you are not at the table you are on the menu.
In addition to RIPA, we met with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to discuss the re-notice of the Proposition 57 regulations. The revised regulations are the result of a previous public comment period. As with Proposition 47 and Assembly Bill 109, PORAC will continue to monitor these public safety measures and advocate for the victims and the communities we serve so they have an equal voice in these discussions. If 2017 was an indication of what 2018 will look like, we will need to redouble our efforts at the Capitol. A lot can be done in Sacramento, but we will need solid support at the local level, especially since we have had a preview of what lies ahead.
As soon as the Christmas holiday season is over and the new year begins, eyes begin to shift to the November elections. It is a non-presidential election year, but for California it will be a very important one, determining who will be our next governor and attorney general. PORAC will continue to do our due diligence in vetting the candidates for their respective offices. In addition, we will be working with our partners and allies to assess the ballot propositions that make the final cut. Having these relationships will be paramount for the success we will need to achieve our goals in November.
As I was attending meetings for and on behalf of PORAC, I was also meeting with the staff to get a better understanding of its internal functioning. I really wanted to sit, listen, learn and pause to give myself the ability to make a thoughtful review of the organization’s processes. Although my time was short in this area during the month of December, I plan on having more in-depth discussions, not only with staff but also with the Board. During my campaign, I had a vision of where I would like to see PORAC headed, and now I need to implement those goals with the support of the staff and Board.
One of the easiest goals to work on immediately is the social media component. Hopefully, in just the last few weeks you have noticed some changes. I met with Terry McHale, Michele Cervone and Pat Moran from Marketplace Communications to discuss increasing PORAC’s presence on all our social media platforms. I want to focus on increasing our audience, pushing out more positive stories about the incredible work being done day in and day out by peace officers throughout California. None of us entered law enforcement to be famous, but unfortunately, the narrative on our profession is not being written by us and that must change. We have a few things in the works and I will announce those as we get all the details worked out. In the meantime, give us a like on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. If you already do, ask your family, friends and colleagues to do the same.
Lastly, I want to thank the CAHP Credit Union for their very generous donation of $10,000 to the Peace Officers Relief and Education Foundation (POREF). We are extremely grateful for all the support they have given PORAC over the years — community partners in every sense of the word. Thank you!