Brian R. Marvel
PORAC was founded in 1953 when less than three dozen California peace officers formed a special association, collectively motivated to professionalize our occupation, with service at the core. One of the earliest successes was the development and implementation into law of the first “peace officers standards setting” agency, now POST, which was eventually followed by the rest of the nation. On that foundation, we built strength to increase our rights and benefits as peace officers. We began to have greater self-determination and autonomy from city and county administrators, along with police management. We have met some of the toughest times — recessions, natural disasters, legislation and now, a global pandemic — head-on. I am proud to be at the helm and strive every day to continue our legacy of exceptional service and professionalism.
My joke about 2020 is, how could it not see COVID-19 coming? The reality is, no one could have predicted this year’s crisis, its effect on the economy or the impact it will have on our respective agencies. Will things get turned around quickly, or will it take years? What challenges do you face in your day-to-day living, family and financial concerns, retirement, and pension issues? Amid the uncertainty, PORAC is here to support our affiliates and their members. Check out our COVID-19 landing page at PORAC.org. It has a variety of important resources, a list of our priorities, articles about how your voice is heard in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., information about the free Hazardous Exposure Listing Program (H.E.L.P.) and our special On the Job With PORAC podcast, to name a few. If you have not seen it, visit our website and click on “Policing in a Pandemic.”
PORAC’s strength is anchored by your loyalty, the commitment of our three trusts — IBT, RMT and LDF — all of our employees and the consistent stewardship of the organization’s financial resources. I want PORAC to provide the best possible benefits at the lowest possible cost to our members. I believe we have the best legal, retiree and insurance trusts in the nation. They are all on a solid financial footing and have an excellent infrastructure to serve us well into the future. PORAC really is the platinum choice. As of this year, our Retiree Medical Trust will be open to all 50 states. If you do not have retiree health benefits, you should have your association reach out as soon as possible — it is an incredible benefit. The money goes in pre-tax, income earned is tax-free and you are reimbursed tax-free for covered medical expenses and health insurance premiums. It’s hard to beat that!
The state Assembly reconvened from spring recess on May 4 and our state senators on May 11. The Assembly wasted no time in amending and moving bills through its respective committees. Damon Kurtz, Randy Perry, Aaron Read, Michele Cervone and I worked through 21 pages of bills set for the Assembly (anti-)Public Safety Committee Hearing that occurred on May 19. One of the bills I would like to discuss is AB 1945 by Assemblymember Salas. This bill will bring dispatchers under the fold of first responders. When it was initially introduced, it had language that would have included non-dispatchers and private contractors. This was unacceptable to PORAC. We immediately reached out to Assemblymember Salas and his office to express our concerns. In the meantime, we had to take an active oppose position. I want to thank folks who did reach out and ask for an explanation of why we opposed AB 1945. Since then, we have worked with Salas’ office, submitted amendments and have taken a neutral position. We anticipate discussing this more at our full board meeting on June 15. Please visit our website to view more of our state and federal advocacy programs.
As the state and nation slowly open back up, PORAC’s promise to provide first-class benefits with outstanding service continues to drive us forward. We will be there for you during the pandemic and well after it ends while ensuring the enduring strength of our organization. Fulfilling our mission statement in these times matters more than ever. Thank you for placing your trust in PORAC and the work we are doing for you in California, the State Capitol and Washington, D.C.