In early February, your PORAC Board of Directors met in Sacramento to address many issues, including several bills relating to the use of body-worn cameras by law enforcement. Randy Perry and Aaron Read gave our Board a complete report on the many law-enforcement-related bills that have already been introduced this session.
As reported last month, your PORAC Board of Directors assembled a committee to address the issues surrounding the use, storage and implementation of body-worn cameras. The committee recently participated in a conference call about these issues. All agreed that we must be involved and have a seat at the table for any decisions related to body-worn cameras.
PORAC, along with PORAC Legal Defense Fund Administrator Ed Fishman and Randy Perry, has gathered body-worn camera policies from many of our member associations. Once all of this information is compiled, several of our PORAC LDF panel attorneys will collectively discuss the various policies and provide PORAC a sound recommendation to either create our own legislation or provide one of the many legislators with our amendments to a current bill. We anticipate our attorneys will come out of their meeting with agreed-upon recommendations that will protect our members, as well as addressing the concerns of the citizens we are sworn to protect.
Two years ago, PORAC LDF provided similar assistance to PORAC in crafting legislation related to Brady. We had been working with the Legislature for a number of years to prevent our cities and counties from taking a second bite at the apple during termination procedures strictly over a Brady issue. After a full-day meeting at PORAC headquarters, all of the attorneys brought forward SB 313, sponsored by Senator Kevin de León. That bill provided our members with the protections we had been seeking for a number of years.
It is our hope that PORAC and PORAC LDF will have similar success on the issue of body-worn cameras. This type of teamwork between PORAC, PORAC LDF and all of our panel attorneys is why we are the most recognized law enforcement organization in California. No other organization is working to this extent to provide the best possible solution to safeguard the benefits of our members. I would like to offer my thanks on behalf of the PORAC Board of Directors and our entire membership to PORAC LDF and all of our panel attorneys.
The day before our Board meeting, PORAC was asked to participate in a joint Assembly and Senate Public Safety hearing on Law Enforcement and Community Trust in California. PORAC worked closely with Marketplace Communications leading up to our testimony. When we arrived at the hearing, PORAC LDF Administrator Ed Fishman and I realized how adversarial the participants were to public safety. Ed provided tremendous testimony on the process by which officers are both investigated as well as prosecuted by local district attorneys. The panel had several questions, and PORAC and PORAC LDF were able to provide thorough insight on current practices and how those practices are working appropriately in California.
In listening to other testimony, it was clear that our opposition is looking for law enforcement to be held accountable to someone other than our local district attorneys. During that testimony, it was recommended that investigations of law enforcement officers in California follow most other states in the country by having open hearings on discipline and making the results of that discipline public for all citizens to review. Once again, PORAC and PORAC LDF defended the current practices in place. We offered to assist legislators in determining how all of us, including community leaders, can improve on current relations between law enforcement and our communities. Needless to say, we anticipate this to be a very busy year defending public safety.
Check the Box
Lastly, we would like to remind our members that it is tax time, and our California Peace Officers’ Memorial Foundation needs your assistance. This year while you are completing your California tax returns, please take a moment to donate to the CPOMF. With all of our members throughout PORAC, we can make a big difference for the families of our fallen heroes. Check the box — it’s that simple!