Vice President’s Message

Damon Kurtz

PORAC Vice President

Heading into August, we are winding down this year’s legislative session. This year has been one of the busiest to date for PORAC; we tracked over 40 bills that we had an “active oppose” position on. Luckily, the majority of those bills are no longer moving forward, or we were able to negotiate amendments that addressed our concerns and have removed our opposition. We continue to negotiate for amendments on Senate Bill 2, which creates a law enforcement licensing program through CA POST. As we have said on multiple occasions, we at PORAC do not oppose a licensing program as long as the process for providing and revoking the license is fair. That is still not the case with the current language, and we continue to work toward that goal. Currently, 46 other states have a law enforcement licensing program, and it’s a little surprising that California does not have one. I am confident that in the end we will be able to create a program that is fair and equitable.

On the federal front, we continue to engage with our elected officials at the national level on several issues, but the most pressing issue remains the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. Our conversations have been consistent with those in negotiations to retain the current standards in qualified immunity. Our position on law enforcement reform at the national level should be about creating national minimum standards for training and policies, much like we have here in California. Punitive legislation will not address the issues in law enforcement. PORAC will continue to insert ourselves in these issues to make sure your voices are heard. As always, we encourage you as associations and individuals to continue to engage your elected leaders on the issues that affect us all.

PORAC training classes are back in action, and it’s been nice to finally see our members in person again. This year’s Annual Conference of Members is rapidly approaching, make sure you register before it sells out. This year’s Conference will be in Monterey, and there will be something for everyone. Aside from the normal business conducted at Conference, there are a number of local attractions to keep you occupied. Whether it’s taking in a round of golf, visiting Cannery Row, Alvarado Street or the aquarium, there is something for everyone. I say it often, but the annual Conference is the best place to network with your peers, attorneys and industry experts. We look forward to seeing you there.

Something new that we have been doing at PORAC is looking for innovative ways to market ourselves to the public. Traditionally, we have only focused our outreach on our membership and the law enforcement community. Unfortunately, in this environment, we have to be more proactive in our efforts to be heard, whether it’s on the political or the public relations front. We need to do more to make sure that the public sees a professional representation of law enforcement labor in the media and in politics. We have recently started to use unconventional ways to get the PORAC brand out there so that we can be seen by those unfamiliar with law enforcement labor. We recently partnered with Kyle Weatherman, a NASCAR driver on the Xfinity Series races. Weatherman is a staunch supporter of law enforcement, and we have sponsored his car on a few races. Our race in March received national coverage as Weatherman’s car with the PORAC logo was featured in the NASCAR ads. Generating public support and a visible public image has influence with our elected officials here in California and in Washington, D.C. Our next race will be September 25 in Las Vegas.

August is also the time for PORAC region meetings and elections. If you have an interest in who is representing your region on the Executive Committee or on one of the PORAC trusts, make sure you attend your respective region meeting to participate. August 9 will be the official opening of and the first full Board of Directors meeting at the new PORAC Headquarters. The new building will allow us to hold larger trainings, Board meetings and political fundraisers that were unable to be conducted at our previous location. I look forward to seeing all of you soon at one of these events.

As always, stay safe and healthy out there!