As you’ll read later in this issue, our 2019 Symposium in Monterey was a resounding success. We had the largest attendance in our history. I’d like to thank all the presenters who came out to speak to our members. I give special thanks to Ann Carrizales, who had a spectacular presentation on resiliency. The Meadows Place (Texas) Police officer spoke movingly about what she went through after a 2013 vehicle stop led to a gunfight that injured her and she still arrested the shooters. An amazing story! Also, I want to thank Joe Gamaldi, president of the Houston Police Officers’ Union, who spoke about pay parity issues, something that California could eventually face.
When I took over as PORAC president, my goal was to make sure symposiums would be as informative and forward-looking as possible and not focus strictly on current legal issues. This worked out well this year. One day after Symposium, a Los Angeles School Police Department sergeant was injured in an off-campus critical incident. Carrizales tweeted an offer of assistance. Little did she know that the sergeant had attended her presentation just a day earlier!
“Ann — he told me today that your presentation on Wednesday prepared him for what to expect. We are very appreciative!” tweeted P.J. Webb, PORAC’s Specialized Police Association Coalition chair.
No one ever wants an officer to be involved in an officer-involved shooting, but thanks to Carrizales, we have a PORAC member who now has the tools and knowledge to navigate their way through this experience.
As police union leaders and members, we need to start making sure that our agencies have wellness units or provide ample opportunities for members experiencing issues at work or at home to seek resources and assistance to help them succeed in this profession.
I hope everybody who attended Symposium had a good time and I look forward to seeing you at the Conference of Members in November.
With this being May, it’s a time to give special honor to our fallen brothers and sisters. Local and state memorials lead up to Police Week and the National Peace Officers Memorial Day in Washington, D.C., on May 15. As we reflect on brothers and sisters we have lost, we want to remember them, their dedication to service, their communities and what they lived for. We must continue to celebrate their lives and the sacrifices they made. If you haven’t attended the state or national memorial ceremony before, I highly recommend that you do. Every officer should attend at least one in their career. This is a great opportunity to demonstrate solidarity and to show the families of the fallen that they’re not forgotten. Remember, when you pin on the badge or star, you become part of a family. In this family, we don’t forget our fallen.
As these ceremonies take place, we have to be aware of what’s happening at the State Capitol, where two competing use-of-force measures, SB 230 and AB 392, are being hotly debated. We need to be able to protect ourselves and the communities that we serve. Unfortunately, many legislators have never walked in our shoes, and not very many of them have gone through simulation training. Yet some of them are eager and willing to change the policies that allow us to defend ourselves in critical and, oftentimes, deadly incidents. As we pay our respects to our fallen brothers and sisters, we hope the legislation we’re supporting, SB 230, wins the day, because nobody in law enforcement wants to be involved in a deadly incident. Our approach to trying to mitigate deadly force incidents is to ensure that law enforcement has the tools and resources necessary to allow us to do our jobs in protecting the community. SB 230 is an evidence-based approach that focuses on adopting nationally recognized best practices with proven results. AB 392, on the other hand, has one sole goal: to criminalize officers. If you haven’t used our one-click activation portal, please visit www.porac.org/sb230. We need your help.
In closing, take this memorial month of May to better reconnect with your family and friends. Take the time to appreciate and show affection for your loved ones. Take care of yourself and your partners. No one knows when our last shift will be.