Brian R. Marvel
Back in June, the Board of Directors discussed re-establishing the Committee on Peace Officer Relations (COPOR), which was created a few decades ago to address diversity issues in police recruitment and encourage agencies to recruit LGBTQ+, people of color and women into the profession. I am happy to announce that the committee has officially been reinstated, but with a renewed focus: to bring diverse voices from PORAC members and the community at large into productive conversations to generate commonsense solutions for a vision of law enforcement that supports public safety.
I selected Executive Committee Director Marshall McClain to chair the committee and Inland Chapter President Rich Randolph as the vice-chair. They will make COPOR’s focus a reality with the help of a cultural caucus of law enforcement members from the Black, Latinx, Asian-American, Native American, Jewish and LGBTQ+ communities. Together, they form the foundation of United for Positive Reform (UPR), a unique coalition of organizations and community members committed to establishing constructive relationships, finding common ground and generating commonsense solutions for effective systemic change. The group’s mission is to promote a more transparent and accessible vision of law enforcement that supports public safety while including diverse voices and addressing the need for meaningful and sustainable improvement of our profession.
By working alongside faith-based leaders, schools, social justice groups and other stakeholders, we hope to come together and use facts and information to make evidence-based determinations on what reform looks like. We endeavor to make sustainable change through education, communication and collaboration — unlike our opposition, who are creating fear, spreading misinformation, disinformation and propaganda by a willing media, and driving emotional arguments to encourage knee-jerk solutions, such as defunding and abolishing agencies, that do nothing to effect real systemic change or increase public safety.
Unfortunately, we will not get the media coverage like the anti-police protesters are getting because they are willing to say and do outlandish things. A lot of people in leadership positions are fearful of the protesters. As a result, the opposition’s emotional arguments are currently winning the day. However, while they are out there creating divisiveness and animosity, we’re providing reasonable solutions.
Now more than ever, we need harmony, and that is why it was pivotal for us to reinstate COPOR at this crucial time in our profession. The committee’s United for Positive Reform coalition will allow us to reach diverse audiences in various sectors of the community and foster a more inclusive relationship between law enforcement and those they serve, while also helping to further amplify PORAC’s voice on the state and federal levels. I encourage you to get involved in the coalition if you can. Please visit united4positivereform.org for more information.
Speaking of amplifying our voice, on July 8, I was among a small handful of law enforcement leaders who delivered testimony before the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice during a hearing on community trust and respect for law enforcement. In my testimony, I provided recommendations for how we can improve police–community relationships by improving police policies and practices: establishing national standards for recruitment, training and use of force; funding to implement those national standards; and programs and funding for mental health, addiction and homeless services. I am hopeful that our input has provided the commission with insight on how to better our profession.
In addition, we continue to speak with elected leaders in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., providing our input and information on a variety of bill proposals.
At the time of this writing, the Legislature in Sacramento has recessed. This was originally scheduled as a two-week recess, but it has now been extended to three, leaving us with a little over five weeks to address the more than 20 bills that will dramatically affect our profession in the state. We’re hoping common sense prevails because some of the changes being proposed will have substantial repercussions on officer safety, as well as our ability to ensure that the communities we serve are safe. The two biggest bills of concern are AB 1709 (Weber) and AB 1022 (Holden), which can easily be dubbed “cop-killer bills.” (See this month’s Capitol Beat article on page 38 for more information.)
On the federal level, we’ve had conversations with Representative Karen Bass regarding the Justice in Policing Act. We’ve provided our input and thoughts on each component of the act to not only her office but also Senator Dianne Feinstein’s, which reached out immediately for our input. In addition, we have requests to meet with Senator Tim Scott regarding the JUSTICE Act, his Senate bill on police reform. We hope that by communicating with Representative Bass and Senator Scott, we can provide rational and reasoned information on moving police reform forward at the federal level that will improve our profession and public safety.
In closing, you may not see us on Fox News or your local news, but the reality is that we’re talking to the right people at the right time to make sure our experiences, our knowledge and the work we’ve done in California are not overshadowed by other organizations that don’t necessarily reflect the high levels of professionalism that you see in our state.