Since the beginning of the year, it seems we have too frequently been hearing from around the country of the loss of another of our law enforcement family members. These tragedies hit at our core and affect all of us and our families in many ways. No matter how it affects us, we as association leaders and representatives of our local departments must act to protect and provide guidance for the families of our fallen brothers and sisters. We can put you in touch with many representatives, including Renee Hassna, Oakland POA Executive Director; one of the presidents of the three California chapters of Concerns of Police Survivors; or the California Peace Officers’ Memorial Fund, all of whom will assist you and your association. That is one of the many benefits of PORAC membership.
The PORAC Board of Directors and trustees of our various benefit trusts are composed of active, working law enforcement members who are continually making decisions for the betterment of our members. Whether it is our Retiree Medical Trust, providing financial stability for medical costs into retirement, or our Legal Defense Fund Trust, providing the very best legal coverage available (including access to the most well-respected and proven law firms throughout California), PORAC will always be available to assist our members and association leaders.
One of the benefits of PORAC membership is the vast array of insurance options offered through our Insurance and Benefits Trust. Our elected I & B trustees are continually reviewing the various benefits offered and increasing those benefits whenever possible. Whether you are a part of our Short or Long Term Disability Plan or have a separate term-life policy in place for your members, PORAC, along with our partners at Myers-Stevens & Toohey & Co., offers a vehicle to make sure that our members and their families are covered in case of a tragedy. This ties in directly to the tremendous loss we feel when we lose a brother or sister in law enforcement — we as leaders need to ensure that our members and their families are protected.
As all of you know, many months ago Attorney General Harris gathered a group of law enforcement leaders from around the state to address many aspects of policing, including body-worn cameras (BWCs) and community relations. This group is now known as the 21st Century Policing Working Group and includes police chiefs, representatives from sheriff’s departments and many other members of the state’s largest agencies. PORAC is one of several labor associations and organizations that participate. Attorney General Harris asked all of the representatives to provide input for language that she could consider for law enforcement best practices throughout California.
PORAC and LDF had already tasked Randy Perry and LDF Administrator Ed Fishman with assembling our panel attorneys to come up with language we could all use at the local level addressing the use and implementation of BWCs, as well as to provide input to lawmakers on what should be included in proposed legislation.
Last month, Attorney General Harris convened the working group. PORAC has played a big part in assisting the Attorney General, most notably in crafting the BWC language. PORAC was the only organization that provided any written feedback to Attorney General Harris, including a complete list of what we believe are the best practices that should be included in legislation and local department policies.
Larry Wallace, Director of Law Enforcement for the Attorney General, asked PORAC to give a short presentation on the proposed policies to be included in the Attorney General’s recommendations.
PORAC Vice President Brent Meyer, PORAC LDF Administrator Ed Fishman and I attended the meeting. Once again, Ed Fishman rose to the occasion and gave a stellar presentation. He presented the policies and best practices to the working group, which included Attorney General Harris. Ed went into detail about how officers should have the ability to review any video footage, including from BWCs, prior to writing any reports. While listening to Ed, we had the opportunity to watch the reaction of all of the high-ranking law enforcement representatives from around the state. It was clear that we are the leading voice of law enforcement in California. When Ed had finished his presentation, there were no questions and others who were asked for additional input provided none!
In the end, Attorney General Harris and her representatives thanked Ed and PORAC for providing her office with a comprehensive map and solutions to many issues we are all facing throughout our communities. Clearly the teamwork by PORAC and LDF had made a difference in protecting all of public safety in California.
Check the Box
We would like to remind our members that it is again tax time for all of us and our California Peace Officers’ Memorial Fund needs your assistance. This year while you are completing your California tax returns, please take a moment to donate to the memorial. With our many members throughout PORAC, we can make a difference for the families of our fallen heroes. Check the box — it’s that simple!