As the leaves take on their fall colors, it’s time for PORAC members to gather round at our 66th Annual Conference of Members set for November 15 – 18. It’s called a conference of members for a reason. The conference, like PORAC, exists for you. This is your prime time to let PORAC leadership know what you think about where the organization is headed and how it’s been conducting business. We are only as strong as you want us to be.
There’s a lot that has happened this year that you might want to weigh in on, and we would value your input. Let us hear what you think of AB 931, the shelved Assembly bill that will likely come back next session to limit officers’ use of force and which PORAC has adamantly opposed. Do you have opinions about the Janus decision, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled this summer that public employees can’t be required to pay agency fees? Or what about Governor Brown’s recent signing of AB 748 and SB 1421, broadening public access to police body-camera recordings and your personnel records, respectively?
Whatever your thoughts, please share them with us. Remember, PORAC is here for you, and we cannot represent you if you don’t say anything. I encourage all members to attend this year’s Conference (see page 17 for more details). Not only will you be able to catch up with friends and associates, you also can find out more about what makes your PORAC membership so valuable, such as the Legal Defense Fund, Insurance and Benefits Trust, Retiree Medical Trust, along with our ever-increasing footprint in the social media realm. Be sure to download the PORAC app before you go so that you get all the Conference updates and a few surprises to increase participation at conference.
National Law Enforcement Museum
PORAC was very proud to be in attendance at the grand opening of the National Law Enforcement Museum in Washington, D.C., on October 11. PORAC has been a major sponsor and consistent supporter of the museum and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), and our support was recognized by our prominent position on the museum’s donor wall as a partner at the “Guardians of Justice” sponsorship level. (See related museum story on page 12.)
The 57,000-square-foot museum, with its collection of more than 21,000 artifacts, is the culmination of a nearly two-decades process. We must thank NLEOMF CEO Craig Floyd for endeavoring to persevere and seeing this day come to fruition. It all began when Congress authorized the museum in 2000, but the museum was built without any government funds. Instead, individuals, companies and organizations contributed to the establishment of this worthy museum in Judiciary Square, next to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.
Besides learning about the history of American law enforcement, museumgoers can “walk in the shoes” of an officer by participating in a training simulation or assuming the role of a police dispatcher. It is hoped that exhibits like these bridge the gap between the public and police, and that people walk away from the museum with a better understanding of and appreciation for our officers, who day in and day out, without fail, protect our communities knowing on any given day, they may make the ultimate sacrifice.
Before the ceremony started, you could feel the excitement that this day had finally come. I remember being a rookie and hearing how a museum dedicated to our profession was in the works. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but I was honored to represent PORAC at this most auspicious event almost 20 years later. Outside of the excitement of the grand opening, Clint Eastwood made a surprise visit and kicked off the ceremony. I would gather everyone in attendance wished they could do what Dirty Harry did in his movies, but we all know the difference between reality and Hollywood.
Several more speakers addressed the attendees, including former President George W. Bush via a recorded video message. The keynote speech by retired Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey brought it all together on why this museum is so important to us, our profession and the community.
One of the most significant features of the museum is the Hall of Remembrance, which honors the 21,541 men and women who died in law enforcement service; most of their stories are unknown by those who visit. But those stories now will be told for all to hear; Never Forgotten.
I hope that each of you has the opportunity to visit this spectacular and much-needed museum soon. It does law enforcement proud. If you go to YouTube, type “National Law Enforcement Museum construction time-lapse,” you can see, in a little over a minute, the construction progress from May 2016 to October 2018 with high-quality webcam imagery. Also, C-SPAN recorded the grand opening ceremony if you would like to watch it.
See you at the Conference in Reno!