Vice President’s Message

Damon Kurtz

PORAC Vice President

As I write this article, many of the COVID restrictions are easing and we are moving closer to reopening California. This means that we will have the ability to hold in-person meetings, trainings and events. Aside from the LDF, IBT and RMT, one of the best benefits of being a member of PORAC is the ability to network with your peers across the state. The COVID lockdown has severely hampered our ability to meet with one another and stay current on the issues we face. As an association leader or simply a member who wants to be more engaged, PORAC strives to provide opportunities for you to learn from and strategize with your peers in law enforcement labor. It’s not uncommon to see associations making public statements on issues in which the information may be outdated or factually incorrect. In this era of hyper-scrutiny of law enforcement, it’s incredibly important to not only be factually correct, but to also speak on the issues with a united voice. In my opinion, our collective voice is what makes us truly effective in our advocacy of law enforcement. The challenge we face as association leaders in a large state with a diverse population is that it can be difficult to find common ground on the issues we are all facing. Being active with our peer organizations helps us face these challenges, and a good way to do this is by attending PORAC chapter meetings.

Chapter meetings are now moving away from virtual and back to in-person meetings. Although the use of virtual meetings has proven to be a useful tool, I do not believe they are as effective as in-person meetings. These meetings are essential to PORAC, as we need to hear from all of our member associations large and small. There is no “one size fits all” solution to law enforcement, and we use the information gathered at these meetings to help craft our advocacy efforts at the state and federal legislatures.  Although there are still some associations that seek to put their individual organization’s name above the collective voice of law enforcement, at PORAC, we will continue to represent all our members through a statewide lens. Brian and I, as well as your local representative on the Board of Directors, will be at these chapter meetings. We look forward to hearing from you and gaining the insight of your perspective on the issues to help us navigate these challenging times.

Providing a wide variety of training classes is another benefit to our membership organizations. PORAC took advantage of the shutdowns to re-evaluate many of our training classes. Some course curriculums have changed as well as the instructors who teach the classes. New classes will be presented this year in a Peer Support class, and we have partnered with Force Science to bring the two- and five-day certification courses to the membership. These classes provide an excellent opportunity to learn something new while networking with your peer association leaders. This year, we have also revamped the PORAC Labor Relations Program (LRP). The LRP is basically a scholarship program for small associations of 30 members or fewer that otherwise do not have the resources to send their members to training classes. PORAC covers the costs associated in attending these classes for those organizations. The classes have been historically limited to the Leadership and Basic Collective Bargaining classes. This year, PORAC has expanded the LRP to include our other classes offered. Lastly, this year’s Conference of Members is slated to take place in Monterey on November 19–21. Attendance will be in high demand, so keep an eye out for registration — it will likely sell out quickly. As always, stay safe and healthy out there!