PORAC Vice President
Well, it’s finally here, the end of 2020 is upon us! The challenges this past year brought, I hope, will stay in 2020. Although the pandemic continues, the possibility of a vaccine brings hope for some normalcy in 2021. Unfortunately, one thing that has become normal is attacks on the law enforcement profession. Some may take offense to me saying that law enforcement is being attacked and that reform is needed. To that, I say we as law enforcement professionals welcome the dialogue on reform and will embrace many of the concepts brought forward. We will not shy away from law enforcement reforms. After all, it’s always our goal to have better outcomes, and we will always be looking to better our profession. Unfortunately, many have turned the “reform movement” into a vindictive political agenda that has no regard for the safety of law enforcement officers or the public we serve. So, as we say good riddance to 2020 and look to 2021 with a fresh outlook, we will be prepared to bring a fair and reasonable approach to law enforcement reforms.
Now that the elections have concluded, I would imagine many are not happy with some of the outcomes. For PORAC, there were some losses that will be felt for some time to come. None more than the Los Angeles district attorney’s race. With the election of George Gascón, we can expect a much louder voice for unreasonable reforms that will seek to provide a pathway for peace officers being prosecuted. Across the nation, there were several referendums on law enforcement reform. The majority of these initiatives were focused on oversight and transparency, and most of them passed by wide margins. The message should be clear to us all — there will be reform. Like all legislation, the devil is in the details. This makes the importance of a unified voice in law enforcement even more important.
At PORAC, it’s our goal to bring the collective voice of our member associations. I fully expect our advocacy to be tested again in 2021. As I have stated multiple times, those advocacy efforts start with you at the local level. Maintaining good relationships with your elected representative and community groups are just as important as our efforts at the State Capitol and in Washington, D.C. As association leaders, we can no longer only focus on local issues. Your local issues can quickly become a precedent and affect all of law enforcement. Make sure you are going to your chapter meetings and share what’s happening in your community. We are all in this together!
On a much lighter note, it’s also the holiday season. I hope we all get time to disengage from our daily stressors and get to focus on what’s truly important, our friends and family. A strong support network is so important to our well-being. It’s important that we spend time with those outside our profession to keep us grounded. It seems that as LE officers, we focus on the negative, and I often worry about our members who seem to be stuck in a negative mindset. I challenge everyone to take at least one day (hopefully more) and spend it with friends and loved ones with no discussions about work or politics. No news, no social media, just the people you care about. Let’s make a conscious effort to be more positive in 2021. I know I take solace in my friends and family and the support they give me. I also find comfort in knowing that when I am at work, my LE family is there, too. Despite our differences, we all have each other’s backs. Like my time in the military, the bond we share as fellow law enforcement officers means we have friends wherever we go.
With most events and trainings canceled in 2020, I am excited to bring back PORAC trainings and events for 2021. The shutdown of our events allowed us to look at our classes and events to make them better. Our first major event will be the 2021 PORAC Symposium and POREF Open Golf Tournament in April. I look forward to seeing everyone this coming year in person. Stay safe and healthy out there!