Vice President’s Message

Damon Kurtz
PORAC Vice President

As we enter the final stages of the election season, I am eager to put this year behind us. It’s unfortunate that the political climate has become so divisive, even among our member associations and members of the law enforcement community. For Brian and I, it is a virtual minefield when it comes to political endorsements as we try to merge the strategies of the local chapters and associations with those of the state interests at the Capitol. Although many of us are focused on the presidential election, for PORAC, it is the local and state races that will impact us the most in regard to future legislation, especially in the area of police reform. 

We are busy putting together our legislative strategy and bill proposals for the upcoming session, which begins on December 7. The expectation is that many of the bills that negatively impacted law enforcement will be reintroduced. This makes your relationships at the local levels as important as ever to help us bring a commonsense approach to legislation at the state level.

One of the greatest benefits of PORAC is the collective voice of our member associations. Having member associations in virtually every legislative district gives us the ability to have a consistent message when we represent law enforcement at the Capitol. Having a broad view of an issue rather than a singular agency vision and allowing for input from all our membership was always something I valued as a representative of my local association. Now as the vice president of PORAC, I value this even more — your input is what allows us to be successful.

Although it’s still unknown how COVID-19 will impact us in 2021, PORAC is focused on bringing the members a quality mix of training and opportunities for meeting and networking. We know 2021 will bring its own challenges and it’s our goal to help each association be successful. We recently held an Advanced Collective Bargaining class and plan on providing this class and others in the coming year. Networking with PORAC member associations has been one of the most impactful benefits for me, especially when it came to negotiating MOUs or department policies. I know as cops we tend to have a “circle the wagons” mentality when it comes to our local issues, but I encourage you to reach out and network on your issues. Together we can be truly effective in helping our member associations be successful. These local issues can be precedent-setting and can affect us all.

There are times where I’ve heard association leaders comment on a training or an event, stating they did not get anything from attending. My response to them is, “But did someone else benefit from what you brought to the event?” The collective knowledge and experiences we share at these events can be the difference between success or failure for those looking for guidance on their issues. As Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

Our 2021 Symposium is scheduled for April 15–17 at the Laguna Cliffs Resort in Dana Point. There will be a good mix of industry experts and presentations that we believe will be useful to you and your members. It will be immediately followed by the POREF Open Golf Tournament, to be held April 17 at the Monarch Beach Golf Links. This event will benefit our education and relief funds, which allow us to provide educational scholarships and much-needed monetary relief to those impacted by tragic events such as the wildfires here in California. (See page 41 for more details.)

PORAC will remain focused on our advocacy efforts at the state and federal levels and on providing the best possible benefits to our members. Thank you for all of your support. Take care and be safe out there!