Happy New Year! I hope all of you had a nice Christmas and holiday season. Spending quality time with family and friends is a priority for us all. With the outlook of the year ahead, this is the best time of year to recharge our internal batteries! During these times of relaxation, we have a chance to reflect on things that have shaped our lives.
At some point early in our lives, something told us that we were meant to serve. Whether it was in the military for our country or in this life of public safety, all of us have chosen this career path to provide for others, to protect our communities and to defend the citizens who many times will be on the front lines of a protest. Times like these are when we shine the most. Remain vigilant and do not divert from your primary mission to protect and serve our communities. All of you do this with honor, courage and sacrifice. We commend each of you for your continued professionalism.
Recently, PORAC has been asked to attend meetings regarding the recent protests. When attending meetings with legislative leaders and community activists at their request, there has been nothing anyone can specifically point to where California peace officers have been anything less than professional. At each of these meetings, we have shared incidents where police have been continually placed in harm’s way and where many (not all) protestors have been continually violating the law. PORAC was requested to attend these meetings to give the perspective of the first responders. After we adjourned the meeting, it was clear that many in attendance had a much different perspective about what each of us faces on a daily basis. Also, there was no one present clamoring for an application!
As we finished up our Conference of Members late last year, our PORAC membership made many important decisions to make sure that protecting our retirement security and other benefits is our top priority for the coming year. Since that time, we have been involved in a many meetings with our coalition partners in Sacramento. These groups have been together for many years, and PORAC is one of the only public safety organizations represented at these tables. As the initiatives and pending legislation against the public sector continue to unfold during the course of the coming year, it will be of utmost importance for PORAC to work closely with these organizations. Rest assured, PORAC, along with our advocates at Aaron Read & Associates, will be working hard to defend our rights and defeat anything adversarial that may come our way.
Upon returning to Sacramento, PORAC got back to work meeting with key legislative staff and leaders from both the Senate and Assembly in crafting legislation for the coming year. Your PORAC officers and Board of Directors will be working with other public employee stakeholders on the various proposed legislative packages that were submitted at Conference, as well as looking at changes to modify Proposition 47. PORAC will continue to be the leader in protecting our public safety members throughout the state.
During December we had the opportunity to attend several of our chapter celebrations throughout the state. As usual, all of the parties were very well attended and included many of the new association leaders. As the start of the year kicks into full speed, we urge all of our associations to select at least one of your board members to attend your local chapter meetings. These meetings are usually held monthly in a geographical area close to your city or county. At these meetings, your chapter directors and Executive Committee members will be on hand to disseminate information from recent PORAC Board or Executive Committee meetings. This is one of the many ways that PORAC separates itself from other representative organizations. It is also the best way for PORAC to keep all of our associations informed on current events that will affect each of you.
Over the past several months, many of our local associations have elected new board members, including new leadership within their organizations. It is very important that PORAC has the best possible contact information to allow us to keep your association up to date. This information is vital, both locally as well as for us in Sacramento.
January is usually the time when the new leaders take their respective seats to conduct business for their associations. At PORAC, we have heard from many of these associations looking for guidance. In speaking to several of you, it is our suggestion that any new association board members, including officers, attend our PORAC Leadership Training class. We offer many classes, from Collective Bargaining to Internal Affairs, but our leadership class is a must for any new association leaders. Please visit www.porac.org for a list of all of PORAC training classes offered or see our training schedule on page 16.
As we enter this new year, please keep our fallen officers and their families in your thoughts and prayers.