The new year has started off at full speed, with the state and national legislatures proposing many bills that will directly affect public safety, from body-worn cameras to police oversight. During our meeting in January, your PORAC Executive Committee began to plan and strategize for many of these upcoming discussions with our legislators. We have formed a committee within the PORAC Board of Directors to review many of our local department policies related to body-worn cameras. This committee will be addressing many aspects of the cameras, including PORAC’s position on supporting wearing the cameras.
PORAC LDF Administrator Ed Fishman, Randy Perry from Aaron Read & Associates and Chelsea Irvine from Marketplace Communications will also be a part of the committee. Ed will simultaneously be contacting LDF panel attorneys who have assisted many of you in crafting the language that has ultimately become your local policies. Randy will be contacting many of the legislators who have either dropped bills or have told us they plan to introduce legislation related to cameras. Chelsea and Marketplace Communications will be gathering the points brought forward by all of our members who have provided PORAC with their local policies on cameras. They will also be in the forefront of our social media campaign to make sure that all of our voices are heard loud and clear in both Sacramento and Washington, D.C.
The committee will report back to the PORAC Board of Directors during the February meeting in Sacramento. It is our hope that we will collectively be prepared to have a position on wearing the cameras, and to report to the legislators in Sacramento and Washington what pertinent information should be included in any legislation to protect our members as well as the citizens we are sworn to protect.
PORAC is in the final stages of planning and scheduling our annual lobbying trip to Washington, D.C., next month. Vice President Meyer and I have had regularly scheduled conference calls with our advocates, Steptoe & Johnson. Darryl Nirenberg, Jason Abel and Eva Rigamonti will be assisting PORAC in scheduling our meetings in Washington with key policymakers, as well as the various committees that affect public safety. At the recommendation of our advocates and the concurrence of the PORAC Executive Committee, it is our plan to have representatives from PORAC in Washington both in March and again in September. We be shortening our trip in March to accommodate the two trips. Although our visit will be shorter, we plan to have a complete agenda of meetings and discussions with the various policymakers. PORAC will have the ability to meet with these members and present our position on body-worn cameras, as well as any police oversight that may be coming forward in Washington. Our timing could not be better to address these issues after fully investigating what is best for our members and the communities we serve and protect.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris has contacted PORAC to be a part of an oversight committee compiling information on police relations within our communities. We have been assured by AG Harris that California law enforcement is at the forefront of working within our communities to build relationships. She has told us that she would like to gather all of the information from around our state to bring forward to Washington as a model for the rest of our nation. As all of us know, California law enforcement consists of some of the best-trained public safety members in the country. What happens in California eventually makes it across the U.S. She is looking for us to assist policymakers in Washington to have a better understanding of building these relationships within our local communities.
Lastly, PORAC had the opportunity to attend the CCLEA meeting and legislative reception in Sacramento. During the meeting, another organization within CCLEA brought forward a request to have PORAC remove a portion of our members who are in the process of separating from that organization. At first glance, that sounds like a reasonable request. You have to look into the facts much more deeply than a short presentation to a group of members who do not know the intricacies of that membership or of PORAC. To start, the members this organization is requesting us to remove are a separate association that has been in PORAC for over 25 years. PORAC prides ourselves on the fact that we do not interfere within any local association. We are here to assist our local associations, and through our chapters, PORAC is the largest and strongest statewide organization in the country. The members of CCLEA also saw this as an internal issue within that organization and made no formal request of PORAC. We will continue to work collectively with all organizations that, like PORAC, will put members and the safety of our communities first!
Please remember to keep all of our fallen heroes and their families in your thoughts and prayers.