Vice President’s Message

Damon Kurtz

PORAC Vice President

This September marks the 20th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the U.S. Pentagon. It’s hard to believe it was 20 years ago — it was such a profound moment, and I still remember that day vividly. At the time, I was a San Luis Obispo County deputy assigned as a court bailiff. I was preparing to go to work when I received a call to turn on the news. Like so many, I was in shock as to what I saw. The World Trade Center was billowing smoke from a commercial jet striking it. As I watched the coverage, I watched live as the second plane struck the building. I remember going to work that day as the details of the event became available, continuing to be shocked and upset as to what happened. In the days and months that followed, the one positive of that day was the patriotism and solidarity we had as a nation. Why it took such a tragic event for all of us to realize we were Americans first makes no sense to me. I hope that everyone takes the time to reflect and remember the lives lost that day. 

Unfortunately, we eventually devolved into the divisive, politically charged environment we are in today. It seems our government is almost devoid of true leaders who are willing to do the right thing versus the right thing for their political party or elected seat.

We see this today with police reform issues. Whether it’s divisive rhetoric or introducing controversial legislation, it seems no one is looking for true solutions. Let’s face it — if the problems were solved, there would be no controversy and no media coverage to spin the rhetoric. As I write this article, we are days away from the end of the legislative session here in California. It was another year full of dangerous and ill-conceived legislation designed not to address the real issues, but only to garner political support. We have stated repeatedly that this will have a negative impact on the safety of our communities. Well, it seems the “chickens have come home to roost.” Years of anti-law enforcement rhetoric and legislation have created a perfect storm. With violent crime on the rise around the country and a national shortage in officer staffing, those who pushed the rhetoric are now worried about their reelections. The same officials who were on the “defund movement” are now changing their stance as they realize their elected seat is in jeopardy. Law enforcement is not opposed to reform as long as it’s done in a fair and unbiased manner. We will always be willing to discuss how we can have better outcomes.

As we enter the fall months, that means our annual Conference is right around the corner. This will be the first large event we have hosted since the pandemic began. Our last Conference or symposium was held in 2019, which seems like eons ago. We are excited to bring Conference back to the members in Monterey this year. It will be nice to see some familiar faces and to meet new ones. I’ve said this many times before; the Conference is the single best event for law enforcement labor to network among the associations, law firms and industry professionals. If you cannot make it to Conference this year, the annual symposium will be held in April 2022 in Dana Point. I hope I get to see you at one of these events. In the end, it’s the membership that makes PORAC so strong and effective. It’s truly a pleasure when we get to see everyone in person.  Virtual meetings may be the norm these days, but nothing beats the communication of a face-to-face conversation. As always, stay safe and healthy out there!