Brent J. Meyer
PORAC Vice President
Now two years into my tenure as PORAC Vice President, I am pleased to report that the experience has been as exciting and challenging as I expected. I really felt like I hit my stride in 2015, now more able than ever to focus on sharing the benefits of PORAC membership, rather than just trying to figure out how everything works. Throughout the year, I continued to look for ways we could improve upon what this organization does for you and the thousands of other public safety professionals across California. The highlight of my year was getting to know even more of you and listening to your ideas on how to do this. Often, I walked away from our discussions enlightened and eager to discuss where you think law enforcement is headed, as well as how we can do even better. I want to sincerely thank you for your membership in PORAC, and for giving me this unique and honorable privilege of representing you on behalf of our profession.
We saw 20 new membership organizations join PORAC in 2015, proving that our “association of associations” is thriving and accomplishing its mission to support and represent the finest law enforcement professionals in both California and Nevada. This year, we rolled out a new online membership system, the PORAC OnLine System (POLS), which has been live for several months. You reported very few issues, and we received great reviews on the ease of implementation! Administratively, POLS is helping us maintain accurate membership records for just shy of 66,000 people. For you, POLS introduced several new features that we hope add convenience in managing your association’s membership. I want to convey my thanks to both Kim Busman (PORAC’s Finance and Administrative Manager) and Peter Henreid (PORAC’s IT Consultant) for the nearly two years of planning and implementation that led to this success. Without their tenacity, and certainly your feedback, it wouldn’t have gotten done in the fashion that it did.
While bringing new members into PORAC is the main focus of my position, actually getting it done is a function of the Recruitment and Retention Committee, which kept quite busy in 2015. We made eight significant membership presentations over the year, many of which were fruitful. In coordinating our efforts with all three of our benefit trusts — PORAC LDF, IBT and RMT — we traveled to all four regions of the state to educate prospective members about the various ways that PORAC can assist them. Collectively, we illustrated how our benefits, and our benefit programs, deliver value and substantial results for membership. As part of the overall recruitment and retention strategy, 2015 saw a complete makeover of www.porac.org, which supported a renewed look to the recruiting material we distribute. Not only was the image of the website freshened up, but this endeavor also improved its functionality and our communication to membership, continuing to drive interest in PORAC.
Unfortunately, we got no break from the war against our retirement benefits, and we likely won’t see one for a while. Chuck Reed, now joined in battle with Carl DeMaio, is even more resolved in his campaign to take away our retirement security. They’ve now introduced not one, but two initiatives for the 2016 ballot that target public employee pensions. This is a slap in the face to those who worked through the economic downturn over the past seven years and have yet to see any significant increase in their take-home pay. For individuals looking for a rewarding line of work, it discourages the bravest and most talented from even considering public safety as a career. While this clearly reflects a small percentage of people’s true lack of appreciation for what you do (or have done) for the citizens of California and Nevada, I believe the majority are slowly rising to join in solidarity with our ranks. Keep your chin up and don’t hesitate, as this, too, shall come to pass.
I also want to congratulate my friend and PORAC’s newly re-elected president, Mike Durant, on his accomplishment! I work closely with Mike on a daily basis and have come to know him well. He continues to do a great job representing law enforcement, and I am confident that he will exceed his own high expectations for this goal in the years ahead. I look forward to standing next to him as he sets a course to better times for us.
Finally, thank you all for making 2015 great! I wish you the very best and brightest of holidays with your families, whether they be the ones in uniform or the ones at home who look forward to your safe return each day. And please be extra-vigilant and safe as you finish out the year, but don’t forget to appreciate those law enforcement families whose lives are less fortunate, as well as each other. Merry Christmas and happy new year!