Vice President’s Message

Damon Kurtz
PORAC Vice President

Well, we are halfway through 2020, and to be honest, I’m kind of done with the events of this year. It seems like every article I’ve written this year starts out talking about the strange times we are experiencing. It feels like we are living through a cheesy made-for-TV movie with plot twists and conspiracies. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined a world in which “defund the police” is a political platform debated at the highest levels of our government, or in which a pandemic literally shuts down our nation.

Unfortunately, this is the world we live in these days, and it has kept President Marvel and I on our toes. Our advocacy efforts have had to be very adaptive as we try to navigate the political landscape of both state and federal legislation pertaining to law enforcement reform. Reform is not a new thing for law enforcement, and it’s not a scary word. The truth is our profession is and has been in a constant state of reform. Always changing and adapting to new challenges. Always training on new techniques and tactics for better outcomes, both for the officer and the community. The difference is today the reform is about having less law enforcement and, in some cases, no law enforcement.

As our federal, state and local lawmakers debate these issues, many law enforcement agencies have had to re-evaluate their enforcement strategies. Proactive policing has been severely hampered, and consequently, crime is on a sharp increase, especially violent crime. To add to these challenges here in California, we have the added burden of zero bail and the early release of thousands of inmates from our prisons. For some reason, the news media and our elected officials are under the belief that everyone in prison or who is arrested does not deserve to be in prison and is not a danger to our communities.

With all the rhetoric about how bad police are and the protests, what is sadly forgotten is the victims — I will say it again, the victims! They have been completely overshadowed by every political pundit and candidate trying to seize the moment for their own benefit. Where is the outcry for the victims of the crimes these early-release individuals committed? Who stands up for them? Who is standing up for those victimized everyday as crime rates skyrocket in our communities? That is an easy question: it’s our law enforcement officers who swore an oath to protect our communities.

Even as we are maligned in the media and in the political arena, officers continue to do their duty. It’s that sense of duty that motivates our profession. I have said it before, but I am proud of our profession, and most of all, I am proud to have worked side by side with many hardworking officers whose dedication to their job and communities is unrivaled. Knowing the character of the men and women of law enforcement allows me to passionately represent this profession. I rest easy knowing that despite all the ugly rhetoric, our officers are still out there protecting our communities and will continue to do so. As for Brian and I, we will remain laser-focused on the Legislature to make sure common sense  is part of the discussion when it comes to reforms. As always, thank you for your service, and stay safe out there!