After well over a year of advocacy, legislative drafting, research and extensive collaboration with law enforcement supporters and with those across the aisle, SB 230 was finally signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom on September 12. California can now proudly proclaim that it has the most robust use-of-force training programs in the nation. This landmark bill will require consistent policies and training from every agency in the state, so the training I receive in San Diego will be consistent with the training in Crescent City. As a profession that continuously strives to improve, this is a natural progression in that evolution.
Vice President Damon Kurtz, Treasurer Tim Davis and I, along with legislators and representatives from other PORAC and law enforcement groups, were honored to attend the private bill-signing ceremony in the governor’s office. I was given the opportunity to deliver remarks alongside our partners from the California Association of Highway Patrolmen and California Police Chiefs Association and bill author Senator Anna Caballero, who worked closely with the law enforcement coalition to shape SB 230 into what it is today.
When I took the podium, I said that this bill will have a great impact on minimizing use-of-force incidents in California because it will ensure that our officers will be given something they’ve been demanding for years — more funding for more updated training that will help reduce the occurrence of these incidents. SB 230 will allocate up to $450,000 for the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) to strengthen training guidelines, and it will provide more than $10 million for officers to attend POST training. Furthermore, the bill will establish specific policy requirements across all law enforcement departments on de-escalation, rendering medical aid and more. (For more details, see the Capitol Beat article on page 22.)
In a statement, the governor said that “it is critical to ensure [peace officers] have the appropriate training [and funding] that aligns with our new use-of-force law.” As you may know, SB 230 was revised to complement AB 392, which was signed into law in August. I want to be very clear, and contrary to what your beat partner has told you, we successfully prevented AB 392 from implementing language that would have significantly impacted the way you perform your daily job. Together, SB 230 and AB 392 create a legislative package that not only strengthens the public safety profession and protects our communities, but also safeguards the men and women in uniform who put their lives at risk every day to keep us safe.
Throughout this saga of amending our state’s use-of-force standards, PORAC worked tirelessly with Senator Caballero and others to make sure the bill would work to keep our members safe and not make it more difficult for them to do an already difficult job. This was important to us because, as Damon writes, we exist to serve you, our members, and that means representing your issues and concerns at the local, state and national levels. In fact, that’s one of the main reasons why a majority of associations in California choose to join PORAC — they know that along with unparalleled benefits, they will be fiercely represented and advocated for.
As the header bar on the front page of the PORAC Law Enforcement News states, you have unparalleled networking opportunities, allowing you to connect with your peers, mentors and other law enforcement leaders. Strength in numbers; our advocacy program is second to none. We have members who live in every district in the state — no other association can say the same. This allows us greater access and as we continue to improve our legislative efforts, we can hold meetings in the districts as well as the Capitol. The more successful PORAC is, the greater our professional image is as a representative of law enforcement, not only in California but nationally. This helps all of us to be more successful. Providing ongoing educational training for members is a major part of PORAC’s philosophy. The courses are designed to enable our members to be more effective within their organizations. As we continue to revamp our training program, we have rebranded it to the PORAC Institute. I will have more information in the coming months. Lastly, our benefits, whether it is Legal Defense, Insurance and Benefits or Retiree Medical, provide consistent value and superb service, which is necessary to the success of PORAC.
To fully receive the benefits of membership, you need to be engaged with your association and your chapter. With any membership, however, you get what you put into it. Get involved, collaborate and grow the benefits that PORAC has to offer, which in turn improves our profession we all love.