Vice President’s Message

Damon Kurtz
PORAC Vice President

As we head into spring, things are coming into focus as this year’s legislative session takes shape. The last day for legislators to file for new bills is February 19. With more than 30 bills we are already tracking, this year will be as challenging as ever. The pandemic remains an issue when it comes to our advocacy efforts to meet with lawmakers. Every year there always seems to be new twists and turns that we must navigate, and this year will no doubt have its share of twists. Law enforcement reform is still a major focus of the State Legislature and the federal government. At PORAC, we have been busy preparing for whatever this year throws at us.

The one constant that can be expected is the divisiveness of our elected officials on both sides of the aisle. This was on full display in the aftermath of the violent protests that occurred January 6 at the U.S. Capitol. For the past year, we have watched as our lawmakers downplayed the violence and destruction of protests across the nation. The divisive rhetoric of partisan politics culminated with the events that unfolded at our nation’s capital. I watched in dismay as our brothers and sisters in law enforcement placed themselves in harm’s way to protect the Capitol and the people inside, just like they have done at every violent protest in cities across the nation. Our officers have been put in impossible situations and continue to serve our communities with honor and integrity. The violence at the Capitol was especially disheartening to see. As a military veteran and as an American, to see this type of activity at the Capitol was a new low. For me, a riot is a riot no matter the cause or the location, there is no difference. The tragic loss of life and destruction of property should be denounced regardless.

What is clear to me is that we have millions of Americans who feel disenfranchised with our government. I hoped for our lawmakers to see this incident as an opportunity to put partisan politics aside and come together as Americans, not as Republicans or Democrats. Instead, it has been more of the same, and the parties seem to be doubling down on the rhetoric. We can only hope that as the new administration takes office, the rhetoric and the theater of politics will subside, and we can work on issues as our Founding Fathers intended.

For President Marvel and I, we will continue to focus on things we can control. We will continue to be a voice of reason and insert ourselves in the conversations related to law enforcement and bring commonsense to the table.

Here in California, the election of Biden and Harris has caused vacancies for U.S. Senate seats and state attorney general. This will cause a myriad of changes within the State Legislature. Some will be filled by the governor’s appointment and some will trigger special elections. PORAC is monitoring these changes and will keep you informed on any developments and what to expect from the new office holders.

Although the pandemic continues to create challenges, the PORAC staff continues to work on training and events. It is our hope that we will be able to provide the membership with training and networking opportunities soon.

As always, stay healthy and stay safe out there!