Brent J. Meyer
PORAC Vice President
Ready for Conference
As you read this, we are near the start of our organization’s signature event for the year: the 64th Annual Conference of Members, which will take place at the most magical and happiest place on earth — Disneyland®! Again, we seem to have broken the record for attendance, selling out of the Conference room block just shy of a month after registration opened. Still, members and guests continued to register right up to the November 4 deadline, which ensures quite the full house for us after we all descend on Anaheim.
For many of your representatives and PORAC staff, the Conference informally starts about a week earlier, as we all make our way there to begin the chaotic process of setting up and organizing the event. The entire staff takes a very active and critical role in setting into motion a year’s worth of planning by the Conference co-chairs and Executive Committee to make every detail just right for you. The Disneyland® Conference is always a little different when it comes to the events, so don’t forget to check out the schedule at porac.org before you arrive to guarantee that you and your fellow association delegates make the most of your Conference experience.
If you happen to be coming a little early, please don’t hesitate to take advantage of the fact that all of the PORAC trusts will be meeting on-site in the Disneyland® Hotel prior to the opening of Conference on Friday. The Legal Defense Fund (LDF) and Insurance and Benefits Trust (IBT) both meet on Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by the Retiree Medical Trust (RMT) meeting on Thursday afternoon. All of these meetings are open to you to observe, as well as gather information about our benefits to take back to your membership. You are also welcome to join us on Thursday morning for the Board of Directors meeting, which concludes around lunchtime and reconvenes on Sunday after the close of the Conference. As you have probably noticed in the past couple of years, we have tried to minimize the repetitiveness of the information at the trust and board meetings that is also provided in the General Session of Conference, so attending them all shouldn’t be a waste of your time.
Most importantly, maximize the time you have during Conference to engage your Board members, representatives, trustees, and staff. Hearing from you not only helps us improve the organization for you, but also gives us all a better understanding of where you want to see PORAC go in the future. I know that I haven’t left an annual Conference yet without collecting a few great ideas … all of which came from you!
Recognizing Our Own and Honoring October’s Fallen
Once again, in this month’s PORAC Law Enforcement News, we have focused the spotlight on a member association. As an at-large member of PORAC, the Fresno County Deputy Sheriff’s Association represents one of the larger groups in our organization. And like most of our groups, they do a lot more than just negotiate a contract or provide a couple of benefits for their people. Extensive community involvement and engagement, as well as lending their voice to the statewide leadership of the PORAC Board of Directors, illustrates the importance of the DSA to the citizens of Fresno County as well as to the law enforcement profession. Having known their President, Eric Schmidt, and several of his board officers for many years now, I feel very proud that we can showcase the work of their association for you this month.
Having strong associations like the Fresno County Deputy Sheriff’s Association in PORAC is crucial to the success of law enforcement, but more so when we have months like we did in October. California lost four officers in the line of duty within a two-week period, all of whom were murdered while protecting their communities. The sacrifices of Sergeant Steve Owen of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Officers Gil Vega and Lesley Zerebny of the Palm Springs Police Department, Deputy Jack Hopkins of the Modoc County Sheriff’s Office and those families they leave behind can never be forgotten. Nearly 100,000 of us in California wake up each day to face the threats that took the lives of these fine officers last month. And the unfortunate reality is that danger will always face us. But I take comfort in knowing that woven among the best-trained police officers and sheriff’s deputies in our country are the fraternal law enforcement associations, like yours that make up PORAC, which will always stand ready and united to take care of our own when tragedies like these befall us.
Please have a safe trip down to Anaheim for the Conference! Thank you for your membership, take care and stay safe!