President’s Message

Brian Marvel
PORAC President

I write this month’s message in the wake of yet another tragic loss of an officer close to home.

On June 19, Sacramento Police Department Officer Tara O’Sullivan was killed in the line of duty while responding to a domestic violence call in north Sacramento. The 26-year-old officer had just graduated from the police academy and was still in field training when she was fatally shot trying to help a woman retrieve her belongings from her home. Described by her colleagues as a person with honor, integrity and commitment, O’Sullivan no doubt had a bright future ahead of her, but this senseless act of violence cut her promising career short. Her death marks the second young officer fatality in the Sacramento region this year after Davis Officer Natalie Corona was shot responding to a car crash in January. PORAC expresses its deepest sympathies and condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Officer O’Sullivan. We will never forget.

O’Sullivan’s passing comes about a month after we joined law enforcement at home and in our nation’s capital for Police Week ceremonies honoring the fallen, including eight California officers who died last year. And here we are again, affected by another loss in our own state, the third this year. As I mentioned in last month’s article, our profession remains one of the most dangerous out there, and studies have confirmed that ambushes and unprovoked attacks against officers are on the rise. It is increasingly evident that we have become targets for a lot of people — and it doesn’t matter if we’re on duty or off. Less than two weeks before the incident in Sacramento, in Los Angeles, Deputy Joseph Solano was off duty when he was fatally shot and died from the injuries he sustained in a seemingly random attack.

These devastating incidents are why it’s important that we advocate for legislation that helps peace officers better protect themselves and the communities we serve. Our top priority and most pressing bills are SB 230 and AB 392. Currently, each bill has been passed out of its respective house of origin to the other house, where they will go through the public safety and appropriations committees. Once they’ve been approved by the committees, they will be sent to the floors of the Senate and the Assembly for approval — which we anticipate will happen — and the governor will sign both pieces of legislation into law.

I know the battle over use-of-force legislation has been a long and bitter process at times, but ultimately, these two bills will place California at the forefront of this issue, making us leaders in the nation to minimize use-of-force incidents. What makes this legislation so important — one that other states can follow — is that it ensures that all peace officers will get the training they need, along with the funding and tools to facilitate that training, which has woefully lacked in the past 10-plus years. It finally appears that the elected officials are putting money toward something that has only been getting lip service. We’re still determining an implementation timeframe for the training components outlined in SB 230, but as of now, we’ve asked for two years. We hope the Legislature asks POST what they recommend. We must allow departments and agencies ample opportunity to meet these new standards in training. Hopefully, in August we’ll have additional information and updates regarding both of these bills.

Speaking of training, the 67th Annual Conference of Members is right around the corner. Conference is not only a great time to attend informative training sessions, meet face-to-face with your fellow members across the state and network, but it’s also the perfect time to get educated about what’s happening in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. I anticipate plenty of productive conversations about use-of-force legislation along with other bills we’ve been supporting or opposing. It’s important to get a handle on the laws that could potentially affect our profession, for better or worse. In addition, we will be highlighting the free training on wellness PORAC is offering statewide via the $200,000 grant we received from POST. I highly recommend that as many members as possible attend Conference, as you’ll be able to hear firsthand about the issues affecting you.

President’s Message

Brian Marvel
PORAC President

Last month’s state and national law enforcement memorial ceremonies were a sobering reminder that our profession continues to be one of the most dangerous out there. In California, the names of eight officers who died in the line of duty last year and two who died in previous years were added to the California Peace Officers’ Memorial at the State Capitol. In Washington, D.C., 371 officers who died in the line of duty — including 158 who died in 2018 — were added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. PORAC joined law enforcement nationwide in not only honoring the service and sacrifice of these brave men and women but also paying respects to the families, friends and colleagues they left behind. We will never forget!

In the wake of these memorials, we should be thinking about how we conduct business. Are we being safe? Are we using contact and cover? Are we keeping our colleagues safe? The reason I bring this up is that the U.S. Department of Justice, FBI, in collaboration with West Virginia University released a report titled, “Ambushes and Unprovoked Attacks: Assaults on Our Nation’s Law Enforcement Officers.” The data from this report reveals that attacks without warning have steadily increased over the last 30 years. PORAC shared this report at the end of May. I hope you give it a read. If we don’t protect ourselves, no one will.

Our state’s poignant memorial ceremony set the tone for our meeting with our lawmakers during our annual Legislative Day with the Board of Directors. PORAC leadership had the opportunity to meet with legislators to discuss the most pressing issues facing our members and public safety. Of course, the status of use-of-force legislation dominated discussions, as SB 230 was recently amended. In addition, we had to let legislators know the coalition supporting AB 392 had not met with us or given any indication that they wanted to amend their bill, which was contrary to what the author said in the Assembly Public Safety Committee hearing. After all our meetings and spending most of, if not the entire day at the Capitol, everyone felt it was quite successful and informative.

On that note, you may have noticed that for the past few months we have been utilizing all forms of communication to educate our members about the battle over use-of-force legislation and its importance to our profession. There have been magazine articles, On the Job With PORAC podcast episodes, e-blasts and social media posts dedicated to giving our members the most relevant, up-to-date commentary and news about this important issue. We even made it easy for members to reach out to their legislators with a custom digital action alert portal.

We send out these messages not to sound like a broken record, but to keep you informed and knowledgeable about legislation affecting you. It’s all part of the job of PORAC’s leadership, which is to educate, organize and advocate for your interests on the local, state and national levels and to ensure that your rights as peace officers are protected. However, we can’t do this without you.

I know folks are extremely busy with their work and families, but these uncertain times require us to be involved. If you aren’t staying engaged on the issues affecting your career and the profession you and I love, then you better be OK with having people with no understanding of law enforcement determining how we do our jobs, what types of training we receive and what our best practices should be. Apathy, indifference and nonparticipation will be the death of our pay, benefits and working conditions.

Members of the PORAC Board of Directors, along with chapter and association leaders, are putting in 40-plus hours on the job, participating in union business and handling PORAC duties on top of balancing family life — they need your help. The most basic thing members can do is attend your chapter meetings, which exist to keep you apprised of local, state and federal issues and provide you with an open forum to discuss them. What we have seen last year and this year is just the tip of the iceberg.

With a series of legislative battles brewing, we need you to step up and do what you can. Help us help you. It’s as simple as attending chapter meetings. As you’ll read later in this issue, the Los Angeles South Chapter reports that one of its biggest challenges is getting members to attend meetings. This problem is, unfortunately, far from unique. We’ve had chapters tell us time and time again that their member attendance has been dropping. If you are attending chapter meetings, I challenge you to bring two members who haven’t attended and then challenge them to bring two members and so on.

What we also need you to do is talk to your families and colleagues about issues affecting law enforcement and communicate your views to your local legislators via email, snail mail or phone calls. What we have found to be one of the most effective influences on our elected leaders is hearing from their constituents, especially those who vote and donate! As a constituent, a member of PORAC or a supporter of public safety, your voice goes a long way and helps us in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. We are the largest law enforcement organization in California and the largest statewide association in the nation, let’s make it count!

Thank you for all your support!

President’s Message

Brian Marvel
PORAC President

As you’ll read later in this issue, our 2019 Symposium in Monterey was a resounding success. We had the largest attendance in our history. I’d like to thank all the presenters who came out to speak to our members. I give special thanks to Ann Carrizales, who had a spectacular presentation on resiliency. The Meadows Place (Texas) Police officer spoke movingly about what she went through after a 2013 vehicle stop led to a gunfight that injured her and she still arrested the shooters. An amazing story! Also, I want to thank Joe Gamaldi, president of the Houston Police Officers’ Union, who spoke about pay parity issues, something that California could eventually face.

When I took over as PORAC president, my goal was to make sure symposiums would be as informative and forward-looking as possible and not focus strictly on current legal issues. This worked out well this year. One day after Symposium, a Los Angeles School Police Department sergeant was injured in an off-campus critical incident. Carrizales tweeted an offer of assistance. Little did she know that the sergeant had attended her presentation just a day earlier!

“Ann — he told me today that your presentation on Wednesday prepared him for what to expect. We are very appreciative!” tweeted P.J. Webb, PORAC’s Specialized Police Association Coalition chair.

No one ever wants an officer to be involved in an officer-involved shooting, but thanks to Carrizales, we have a PORAC member who now has the tools and knowledge to navigate their way through this experience.

As police union leaders and members, we need to start making sure that our agencies have wellness units or provide ample opportunities for members experiencing issues at work or at home to seek resources and assistance to help them succeed in this profession.

I hope everybody who attended Symposium had a good time and I look forward to seeing you at the Conference of Members in November.

With this being May, it’s a time to give special honor to our fallen brothers and sisters. Local and state memorials lead up to Police Week and the National Peace Officers Memorial Day in Washington, D.C., on May 15. As we reflect on brothers and sisters we have lost, we want to remember them, their dedication to service, their communities and what they lived for. We must continue to celebrate their lives and the sacrifices they made. If you haven’t attended the state or national memorial ceremony before, I highly recommend that you do. Every officer should attend at least one in their career. This is a great opportunity to demonstrate solidarity and to show the families of the fallen that they’re not forgotten. Remember, when you pin on the badge or star, you become part of a family. In this family, we don’t forget our fallen.

As these ceremonies take place, we have to be aware of what’s happening at the State Capitol, where two competing use-of-force measures, SB 230 and AB 392, are being hotly debated. We need to be able to protect ourselves and the communities that we serve. Unfortunately, many legislators have never walked in our shoes, and not very many of them have gone through simulation training. Yet some of them are eager and willing to change the policies that allow us to defend ourselves in critical and, oftentimes, deadly incidents. As we pay our respects to our fallen brothers and sisters, we hope the legislation we’re supporting, SB 230, wins the day, because nobody in law enforcement wants to be involved in a deadly incident. Our approach to trying to mitigate deadly force incidents is to ensure that law enforcement has the tools and resources necessary to allow us to do our jobs in protecting the community. SB 230 is an evidence-based approach that focuses on adopting nationally recognized best practices with proven results. AB 392, on the other hand, has one sole goal: to criminalize officers. If you haven’t used our one-click activation portal, please visit www.porac.org/sb230. We need your help.

In closing, take this memorial month of May to better reconnect with your family and friends. Take the time to appreciate and show affection for your loved ones. Take care of yourself and your partners. No one knows when our last shift will be.

Be safe!

President’s Message

Brian Marvel
PORAC President

Since the announcements of SB 230 and AB 392 in February, the debate between public safety groups and ACLU-led organizations has been renewed in the public eye, drawing varying opinions from politicians to the public alike. The media, in particular, has been a powerful voice in this debate for the way it, in its so-called “objective” reporting, has framed both pieces of legislation. We have been monitoring the news cycle’s coverage of our bill and the opposition’s bill, and based on what we’ve seen so far, the long-held bias against police officers is alive and well in the media.

Take, for example, the Sacramento Bee’s disparate coverage of the competing bills. In numerous articles, Assemblymember Shirley Weber’s AB 392 — a revived version of AB 931 that seeks to raise the legal standard for deadly use of force — is juxtaposed with mentions of officer-involved shootings, such as the 2018 Stephon Clark incident, statistics about the “high” number of law enforcement–related deaths in the state and successes other states, like Washington, have had with use-of-force restrictions. The paper continues to fan the flames of anti-police sentiment in some groups. They parrot the talking points of the mostly inaccurate ACLU statistics and never challenge the veracity of their claims. I know the Bee has some good reporters who are objective and focus on the facts, but the editorial board either lacks the backbone to challenge the ACLU or is completely in the bag with Weber.

Within those very same articles, SB 230 is written about almost like an afterthought. Senator Anna Caballero’s comprehensive use-of-force legislation, which focuses on creating statewide protocols and training, is treated as merely a law enforcement-backed response to Weber’s bill. Unlike with AB 392, hardly any data, any mentions of how officers’ uses of force have saved lives and any statistics about the dangers of the job or line-of-duty deaths accompany SB 230. We spent five months negotiating with Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkin’s staff, Weber’s staff and the ACLU to find an agreeable compromise. As you can see, it didn’t work out, but not for our lack of trying. While these negotiations were proceeding, we worked with use-of-force and legal experts, along with medical professionals, to craft a plan that addresses all their concerns.

What’s more, a month after reporting about both bills, the Bee’s editorial board published a scathing piece entitled, “Police won’t obey transparency law. Why trust them on deadly force reform?” It erroneously argued that law enforcement’s opposition to SB 1421 meant that law enforcement does not favor transparency and therefore cannot be trusted to implement use-of-force reform. The Bee showed readers how it really felt about police when it called SB 230 a “sham” and a “decoy bill designed to thwart real reform.” With this position, how can we expect them to objectively report about SB 230 and our plan?

Unfortunately, the Bee is just one of many media outlets skewing public opinion with its bias. Many outlets consciously or unconsciously show bias in their reporting, and it’s part of a disturbing trend that perpetuates and engenders anti-law-enforcement sentiment among the public. According to a Pew Research Center survey conducted by the National Police Research Platform in 2017, about eight in ten officers (81%) who work in departments with 100 or more sworn officers say the media generally treat police unfairly. About four in ten officers (42%) strongly agree that the media are unfair to police.

In addition to influencing how the public feels about police, the media’s treatment of the profession also negatively affects officers on the job. The survey stated officers who strongly agree that the media treat police unfairly have feelings of frustration at work, and nearly one in three (31%) say such treatment makes them feel angry.

The media has been preying on law enforcement for far too long, and we must push back against this unfair treatment. We must be vigilant about presenting the facts about SB 230 to our legislators and the public. We need to counter the media’s biased reporting with objective information about Senator Caballero’s bill, which sets a clear and enforceable standard for authorizing the use of force, standardizes use-of-force training and enacts precedent-setting, evidence-based policies to maximize sound judgment and minimize use of force in our state. Contrary to what the Bee is reporting, this bill is neither a sham nor decoy. SB 230 will require all of California’s 500 law enforcement agencies to adhere to the use-of-force standard set by the U.S. Supreme Court, establish the most comprehensive use-of-force policies and guidelines in the nation, undergo the best use-of-force training available while providing the resources necessary to accomplish that task and continue to uphold our commitment to protecting all Californians.

If you are reading this article, it is a call to action! We can be angry and frustrated with the media, but the best way to counter this is by getting involved. We need you to help us in Sacramento. I need you to write, phone or visit your local statewide elected officials and tell them the truth about SB 230 and why it’s so important for the future of law enforcement and the communities we serve. If our voice is not heard, the elected leaders will only hear from the opposition. We have made it easy for you to reach your representatives with our digital action alert. Simply visit www.porac.org/sb230 to send a prewritten letter stating that you support SB 230 and oppose AB 392. It only takes a few seconds to let your voice be heard!

The best way to tell the Bee to pound sand is to have SB 230 pass and AB 392 fail!

Together, we can work toward protecting California communities and setting a national standard for policing.

Be safe. 

President’s Message

Brian Marvel
PORAC President

As many of you may recall, last year was tough for law enforcement on the legislative front. Assembly Bill 931 — which sought to limit officers’ use of force and ultimately criminalize you for split-second decisions under tense and rapidly evolving incidents — led the pack of measures that were not friendly to peace officers and public safety. We fought tooth and nail to make sure that AB 931 would not be passed. The final two weeks of the previous legislative session were some of the toughest in my life, but we succeeded in making sure that bill never made it to the governor’s desk. As expected, the proponents of AB 931 are trying again this year, with AB 392.

PORAC, in collaboration with a law enforcement coalition, is putting forth a comprehensive legislative plan that will set a clear legal standard for use of force, ensure robust officer training, bring in professional mental health professionals and launch California to the national forefront in use-of-force policies and procedures, training and addressing mental health incidents — all while maintaining public and police safety.

I am pleased to say that a group of law enforcement advocates — which included PORAC, LAPPL, ALADS, CAHP, Sheriff’s, and Chiefs — has announced the sponsorship of Senate Bill 230. The legislation, authored by Senator Anna Caballero, incorporates smart approaches used by various agencies and is the result of six months of collaboration by law enforcement, mental health professionals, use-of-force experts and our Legal Defense Fund panel attorneys throughout the state.

“Our goal through SB 230 is to reduce the tragic loss of life in our communities through a policy that protects the public and our peace officers,” Senator Caballero said.

Our intent in sponsoring this legislation is to ensure our officers can continue protecting human life while building on the community trust so many of our agencies enjoy. Just as peace officers can’t anticipate what they will encounter on any given day, our laws governing their engagement must account for the vast, unpredictable threats they face. SB 230 does that.

This bill updates the fleeing felon language that was written in 1872. Needless to say, the statute does not reflect the use-of-force standards established by the U.S. Supreme Court in Graham v. Connor and Tennessee v. Garner.

Conversely, the opposition’s AB 392 seeks to mandate a hindsight analysis of whether any other lesser use of force could have been reasonably deployed. It fails to consider the fact that other options may pose greater risks of death or injury to the officer or others and that the alternatives may not be as effective. As a result, reasonably necessary use of deadly force in self-defense or in defense of others could be stripped of legal protections under the justification statutes. In essence, you would be criminally prosecuted for protecting yourself or someone else by their standard for every deadly force incident. This, in my opinion, is their goal!

In the 1989 case of Graham v. Connor, the Supreme Court set the legal standard governing use of force. It aptly stated there must be an “allowance for the fact that police officers are required to make split-second judgments — in circumstances that are tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving — about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation.” We should do everything in our power to make sure this stays the standard.

While updating the outdated statute language, SB 230 also includes minimum standardized use-of-force training and internal use-of-force guidelines while providing additional funding to POST. SB 230 addresses each of these issues with the goal of better protecting both individuals and law enforcement officers.

Training is a big component of our plan. Training makes situations safer. Officers and deputies gain confidence with continual, quality training. That confidence leads to a better sense of when to use force and when not to. This is a proven fact. Yet the opposition never pursues a comprehensive training proposal. Why is that?

You also never hear the opposition offering ideas on how to cut down our violent crime rates, how to get guns off of our streets or reduce gang violence. They offer no voice for the hundreds of murder victims in the state of California. With the vocal anti-police sentiment out there, one might think that the number of law enforcement-related deaths has increased. In fact, 2018 saw a 34% reduction from the year before. However, any death is one too many — thus, the need for SB 230.

To learn more about the law enforcement coalition and our plan, visit protectca.com.

As I have said repeatedly, and will continue to say, it is more important than ever that we unite and make our voices heard, individually and collectively. I call again for all 70,000 PORAC members to step forward, make that first move, send that email, make that phone call to your local elected officials and tell them why it’s crucial that they support SB 230. They are your representatives and we live in their community, too. So let them know it matters to you. It could be a matter of life and death.

Have your family, friends and public safety advocates call, too!

Be safe.

President’s Message

Brian Marvel
PORAC President

The members of the California Legislature were sworn in to kick off the new two-year session on December 3, and our statewide executive officers took office on or around January 7. PORAC was able to personally attend or send representatives to several of those swearing-in ceremonies. Vice President Damon Kurtz and I were present for the inauguration of Governor Gavin Newsom in Sacramento. Listening to the speeches by the leaders of California, I reflected on how difficult the atmosphere for public safety was in the Legislature last year and what that means for the road ahead.

Unfortunately, I anticipate that 2019 will be just as bad as 2018, or even worse when it comes to public safety. At the top of our list of concerns is the impending use-of-force legislation. Thankfully, Assembly Bill (AB) 931 did not make it out of the Rules Committee last year, but it will be revisited this year. PORAC is working very hard to ensure that we have a seat at the table and are part of the conversation to try to direct how any legislation on this topic will look. As I’m sure you are all aware by now, the advocates for AB 931 want to raise the standard for use of force above and beyond what was set by the Supreme Court in Graham v. Connor, from “reasonable” to “necessary.” In effect, this would create the expectation that you use all other means at your disposal before utilizing deadly force — even to the extent of getting in your vehicle and driving away! It must be said that I’ve yet to meet a law enforcement professional who wants to be involved in a shooting. However, I think it’s outrageous to give all of the legal advantage to the individuals who are trying to kill us when we are simply reacting to their escalation of violence. If the proponents of this dangerous measure were to achieve their goal, public safety would take a dramatic turn for the worse. Case in point: Chicago! I doubt those communities are happy with the daily carnage of murder and mayhem thanks to the ACLU.

Every member of our profession throughout the state needs to realize that they must become involved in this issue. I continue to urge all our members, family and friends to write or call your elected officials and let them know about your concerns. This proposed law would create a situation where any use of force could lead to an officer being criminally prosecuted, civilly sued or terminated from their job for trying to defend their lives or somebody else’s. All it would take is a use-of-force expert to say they would have handled it differently! No incident is ever the same, and for this reason, we will continue to fight this battle to preserve your safety and that of the public we’ve sworn to protect and serve. For additional information, please listen to my recently released podcast episode on this subject at PORAC.org/podcast.

As I write this, we’re mourning the news that three law enforcement officers were assassinated in the span of just five days across the U.S.: Shreveport Officer Chatéri Payne, who was shot outside her home while heading to work; Birmingham Sergeant Wytasha Carter, who was shot while investigating a vehicle burglary call; and right here in California, Davis Officer Natalie Corona, who was shot while responding to a traffic collision. In addition, we’ve seen two close calls where the officers survived only because a perpetrator’s weapon misfired — one in Sacramento in January and another in Illinois last year, from which the dash-cam footage was recently released. (Watch that video on the PORAC Facebook page if you haven’t already; it’s a sobering sight.)

These incidents show how rapidly events can evolve in our line of work, and how so much can go wrong in a split second. We’re already at a severe disadvantage in the face of such senseless acts of violence, and AB 931 would make the situation even worse. Those pushing this measure capitalize on the media’s perpetuation of the myth that deadly use of force by peace officers goes unpunished and is out of control — when the reality is, in a state of nearly 40 million people, of the millions of contacts that occurred between police and individuals last year, deadly force was involved in just 114 incidents. I think our profession is doing an incredible job. We will continually push for the necessary resources to make our profession safer, which in turn makes our communities safer. With that said, we’re pleased that the governor’s new budget gives POST an increase of $14.9 million from the General Fund, plus an additional $20 million for de-escalation and mental health crisis training. POST has been so underfunded for many years, it is nice to see the tide turning the other way.

Please, be safe out there and cover your partners. We extend our deepest condolences to all of the families, friends and colleagues of the officers we have lost in the line of duty. Their sacrifice will never be forgotten.

President’s Message

Brian Marvel
PORAC President

With the close of 2018 behind us, we welcome 2019 with a new set of goals and continued work on past projects. The Christmas holiday season gave us a chance to look back on our organization’s successes and the areas in which we need to strengthen. January is a good time to reset and look forward to the challenges ahead and we have quite a few.

Aside from fighting the continuing legislative bills that seek to attack the very work we do in protecting the public, I would like to focus on our training program. I firmly believe our associations and members should have more opportunities for training, to prepare ourselves for what we face every day as association leaders. PORAC offers five core training classes annually. Last year we added media training and brought back the line of duty death training. We are in the process of analyzing the feedback from both of those classes. It is my goal to add these two classes to our annual training curriculum.

As PORAC assesses our training program, I am looking at how effective our training is. Is it up to date? Timely? What other types of training should we be offering? With that in mind, I think it would be very beneficial for us to partner with the Force Science Institute. It was an important step to have Dr. Bill Lewinski speak about the science of shootings at the Conference of Members in November. The information is vital to us as we try to explain and have people understand use-of-force incidents. We are currently working with Force Science to begin holding two regularly scheduled trainings in California. We anticipate kicking these off in 2020. This partnership would allow Force Science to offer more classes in California, and PORAC members would save on travel costs by not having to fly out of state for the sessions. Keep an eye out for more details as we finalize this partnership and what it will look like.

On top of that, POST just launched their Innovations Grant Program. One of the categories for this grant program is officer wellness. In 2017, 140 officers committed suicide and some of the research regarding this subject says this is underreported. Yet less than 5% of departments have suicide-prevention programs. I know a lot of agencies are trying to address officer wellness, but it is incumbent upon associations to be the leaders and assist their agencies to implement these programs. The reality is we witness death and destruction daily and that takes a toll on us. I have directed our training manager, Claude Albers, to prepare a grant solicitation to kick this program off. If our proposal is accepted, I am hoping we can start the training in late 2019 or implement it as part of our 2020 curriculum.

In addition to looking at our program, I want to start branding PORAC’s training. We will be updating the logo and changing the name. I want to raise the bar and make our training even better. I am still working with Claude on creating a video-based training program. This would not only provide our members an opportunity to get training 24/7, but it also would entice them to attend our in-depth in-person training.

I know last year was very challenging for our profession. We lost several members of our family. All of them heroes serving their communities. We suffered major fires at the beginning and end of the year and had active-shooter incidents. The pace at which we’re doing things has increased. Demands on public safety have increased exponentially, yet the number of people wanting to join this distinguished profession has dropped off. A recent Washington Post article reported that nearly 66% of almost 400 police departments surveyed said their applicant pool had shrunk. We at PORAC will continue to fight to ensure the respect and dignity our members deserve. I want to welcome our new vice president, Damon Kurtz, Fresno POA, and treasurer, Timothy Davis, Sacramento POA, who officially took their seats January 1.

Best wishes for a safe and happy new year.

President’s Message

Brian Marvel
PORAC President

I want to start by thanking all the members who were able to join us for the 66th Annual Conference of Members in Reno. Conference is always a special time for PORAC. The gathering not only gives our members the opportunity to come together before the busy holiday season commences, but it also brings them up to speed on important organizational, trust and benefit updates so that they can confidently head into the new year knowing where PORAC stands and where it’s headed.

Unfortunately, our members arrived at this year’s Conference with heavy hearts because of a series of devastating events affecting law enforcement and communities throughout the state.

On November 8, Ventura County Sheriff’s Sergeant Ron Helus was killed trying to stop an active shooter at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks. Helus, along with two CHP officers, entered the bar and immediately engaged with the shooter, who struck Helus multiple times. Helus died along with 12 others that night. His brave actions saved many lives, and he and the other responding officers are heroes. Sergeant Helus’ actions epitomize service above self, and tragedies like these are what makes our profession unique: we never know whether we’ll make it back home at the end of a shift. He will never be forgotten!

Hours after losing one of their own, deputies in Ventura were confronted with another tragedy. The Woolsey Fire erupted in Simi Valley on November 8 and began destroying parts of Los Angeles and Ventura counties. With no time to grieve, Ventura deputies and officers sprang into lifesaving mode, working alongside firefighters to protect life and property. At the same time, in Northern California’s Butte County, the destructive Camp Fire broke out, wiping out the town of Paradise and its surrounding area. This fire has become the nation’s deadliest in a century, killing over 80 people, and the most destructive in California’s history, scorching more than 150,000 acres and destroying nearly 19,000 structures.

With the loss of an officer and two fires burning across both ends of the state in the forefront of our minds, PORAC had to conduct business during Conference. I ask that you please keep Sergeant Helus’ family, colleagues and friends in your thoughts and prayers. It will be a difficult road to healing for Helus’ family, but rest assured that they’ll always have the unwavering support of the larger blue family. I ask that you also keep the first responders fighting these fires in your thoughts. We realize how incredibly devastating fires can be on our first responders and their communities, so PORAC has a created a charity fund to help those affected by the wildfires. Please visit cahpcu.org/wildfireReliefFund and consider making a donation today.

Before delving into highlights from the Conference, I want to recognize Vice President Brent Meyer for all his years of hard work and dedication to PORAC. I appreciate the tremendous work he has done during his past five years as vice president. He always stepped up when needed, valued and cared for our members and always made himself available to answer questions. During his tenure, he refined our recruitment and retention program and worked diligently to increase the size of PORAC. It was a great pleasure to be able to work alongside him to take PORAC to the next level. Thank you for your service, Brent, and all the best on your new endeavors!

I would like to welcome Damon Kurtz, past president of Fresno POA, as our new vice president. Damon was elected by acclamation since he had no opponent. I’m excited to start new projects and to continue to build on what Brent has done for PORAC. I think Damon and I will make an excellent team, and we will continue to be PORAC’s voice in the state and national Capitols and provide our members with top-notch training and benefits.

During Conference, we had one executive officer election for the position of treasurer. Longtime Treasurer Marcelo Blanco lost his reelection bid to Tim Davis of Sacramento POA. I would like to thank Marcelo for his incredible work as treasurer and chair of both the Fiscal Management and Budget Committees, positions he has held for nine years. He provided PORAC with a solid financial footing and was diligent in overseeing finances to ensure that we stayed well within our budget while also increasing our reserves to ensure that we would be able to fight any battle that came our way. Everyone owes Marcelo a debt gratitude for all he has done to help our organization thrive financially.

To that end, I want to welcome Tim as our new treasurer. I look forward to working with him and to continuing the tradition that Marcelo has set for PORAC and his stewardship of its finances. I know Tim will do an excellent job as our next treasurer.

With the new team of executive officers in place, I am hopeful that we will meet and exceed membership expectations and our organization’s vision for the future. We will work together to oversee PORAC’s branding, goals, mission and image and continue to vigorously protect and defend the benefits of all our members in public safety. I anticipate 2019 being as difficult, if not more so than 2018.

In closing, we’re thankful for our families and loved ones who support law enforcement. Each day of work could be our last, so their support means the world. Merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, happy holidays and happy new year!

President’s Message

Brian Marvel
PORAC President

As the leaves take on their fall colors, it’s time for PORAC members to gather round at our 66th Annual Conference of Members set for November 15 – 18. It’s called a conference of members for a reason. The conference, like PORAC, exists for you. This is your prime time to let PORAC leadership know what you think about where the organization is headed and how it’s been conducting business. We are only as strong as you want us to be.

There’s a lot that has happened this year that you might want to weigh in on, and we would value your input. Let us hear what you think of AB 931, the shelved Assembly bill that will likely come back next session to limit officers’ use of force and which PORAC has adamantly opposed. Do you have opinions about the Janus decision, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled this summer that public employees can’t be required to pay agency fees? Or what about Governor Brown’s recent signing of AB 748 and SB 1421, broadening public access to police body-camera recordings and your personnel records, respectively?

Whatever your thoughts, please share them with us. Remember, PORAC is here for you, and we cannot represent you if you don’t say anything. I encourage all members to attend this year’s Conference (see page 17 for more details). Not only will you be able to catch up with friends and associates, you also can find out more about what makes your PORAC membership so valuable, such as the Legal Defense Fund, Insurance and Benefits Trust, Retiree Medical Trust, along with our ever-increasing footprint in the social media realm. Be sure to download the PORAC app before you go so that you get all the Conference updates and a few surprises to increase participation at conference.

National Law Enforcement Museum

PORAC was very proud to be in attendance at the grand opening of the National Law Enforcement Museum in Washington, D.C., on October 11. PORAC has been a major sponsor and consistent supporter of the museum and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), and our support was recognized by our prominent position on the museum’s donor wall as a partner at the “Guardians of Justice” sponsorship level. (See related museum story on page 12.)

The 57,000-square-foot museum, with its collection of more than 21,000 artifacts, is the culmination of a nearly two-decades process. We must thank NLEOMF CEO Craig Floyd for endeavoring to persevere and seeing this day come to fruition. It all began when Congress authorized the museum in 2000, but the museum was built without any government funds. Instead, individuals, companies and organizations contributed to the establishment of this worthy museum in Judiciary Square, next to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.

Besides learning about the history of American law enforcement, museumgoers can “walk in the shoes” of an officer by participating in a training simulation or assuming the role of a police dispatcher. It is hoped that exhibits like these bridge the gap between the public and police, and that people walk away from the museum with a better understanding of and appreciation for our officers, who day in and day out, without fail, protect our communities knowing on any given day, they may make the ultimate sacrifice.

Before the ceremony started, you could feel the excitement that this day had finally come. I remember being a rookie and hearing how a museum dedicated to our profession was in the works. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but I was honored to represent PORAC at this most auspicious event almost 20 years later. Outside of the excitement of the grand opening, Clint Eastwood made a surprise visit and kicked off the ceremony. I would gather everyone in attendance wished they could do what Dirty Harry did in his movies, but we all know the difference between reality and Hollywood.

Several more speakers addressed the attendees, including former President George W. Bush via a recorded video message. The keynote speech by retired Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey brought it all together on why this museum is so important to us, our profession and the community.

One of the most significant features of the museum is the Hall of Remembrance, which honors the 21,541 men and women who died in law enforcement service; most of their stories are unknown by those who visit. But those stories now will be told for all to hear; Never Forgotten.

I hope that each of you has the opportunity to visit this spectacular and much-needed museum soon. It does law enforcement proud. If you go to YouTube, type “National Law Enforcement Museum construction time-lapse,” you can see, in a little over a minute, the construction progress from May 2016 to October 2018 with high-quality webcam imagery. Also, C-SPAN recorded the grand opening ceremony if you would like to watch it.

See you at the Conference in Reno!

President’s Message

Brian Marvel
PORAC President

The close of August marked the end of the two-year legislative session in Sacramento. As I’m sure most of you are well aware, this session included an immense amount of public safety-related legislation. It takes a lot of work to review and analyze all of these legislative proposals, including the bills that pass one house and then are gutted and amended to something completely different. As the session wound down, PORAC’s main priorities were opposing AB 931 (Weber), SB 1421 (Skinner) and AB 748 (Ting). The good news is that we were able to get a few months of breathing room when the President Pro Tem of the Senate held AB 931. While I write this, the latter two bills are sitting on the governor’s desk awaiting his signature, and we are asking that he veto them both.

I’ve repeatedly pointed out that law enforcement was not consulted at any point during the creation of AB 931, a major omission considering that it calls for such a dramatic change in the state standard for officers’ use of lethal force. As soon as we read the first iteration of this measure, it was clear to us that its goal was to criminalize peace officers who are involved in use-of-force incidents. By eliminating the standard set by the U.S. Supreme Court in Graham v. Connor that use of force should be based on what a reasonable officer would do under similar circumstances, and instead requiring it to be judged by the subjective measure of what is “necessary,” we believed that the bill placed an unfair burden on law enforcement that would compel officers to second-guess their actions and be judged on the basis of 20/20 hindsight.

With the help of our legislative advocates at Aaron Read & Associations and our Legal Defense attorneys, PORAC sprang into action. We analyzed the bill, discussed our concerns with the legislators in Sacramento and made some recommendations. We worked closely with our law enforcement coalition members — including the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, the California Association of Highway Patrolmen, the California Police Chiefs Association, the California State Sheriffs’ Association and the California District Attorneys Association — to avert its disastrous effects. With only two weeks left in the session, the coalition submitted additional amendments. Unfortunately, Assembly Member Weber presented her own changes directly to the media, making sure we didn’t have a chance to see them until after the news cycle so our comments wouldn’t be heard. Our amendments were turned down in the last week of the legislative session, so the only option left to us was to try to kill the bill. After extensive meetings with several elected officials, discussions with Senate Pro Tem and a targeted media campaign, we learned two days before the end of the session that she planned to hold AB 931 in the Rules Committee, asking all parties involved to commit to sitting down together to work on realistic ways to reduce officer-involved shootings.

From PORAC’s perspective, this is by and large a good result, since we were never allowed a seat at the table for a serious discussion on what commonsense changes to use-of-force guidelines might look like. We’re very thankful the Pro Tem held the bill pending further discussions, knowing full well that she would take a tremendous amount of heat from some of the community groups that have been very vocal against law enforcement. While it’s unlikely that we’ve seen the last gasp of this dangerous measure, we look forward to working with the Pro Tem’s office, our law enforcement coalition and other groups to see how we can best move California’s use-of-force standard in a direction that continues to protect the safety of our communities and our peace officers.

Meanwhile, PORAC members should be fully aware that if the governor signs SB 1421, there will be some dramatic changes in the release of officer information. The records of peace or custodial officers who are involved in incidents of deadly force or great bodily injury, sexual assault or dishonesty will be disclosed in 60 days unless their agency or district attorney can provide a compelling reason not to, and that reason must continue to be provided in writing at 120-day intervals. You need to know that unless your agency puts a hold on it, all of your information will be released in that 60-day timeframe. If the law is passed, PORAC anticipates providing additional training on this significant change under the Peace Officer Bill of Rights (POBR).

Similarly, AB 748 states that agencies are required to release body-worn camera footage of critical incidents within 45 days starting on July 1, 2019; if that would interfere with an ongoing investigation, an agency can delay for 30 days. PORAC tried to stop both these bills from passing, up until the very last day of the session. But even after a critical flaw in AB 748 was identified on the Assembly floor, the Legislature pushed it through. We are currently working with the governor’s office and urging him to veto these bills. Whatever happens, rest assured that PORAC is on the job and committed to doing everything we can to create a secure environment for all of the communities we serve — while making sure that protecting the lives of the public does not mean devaluing the lives of peace officers.

Have a safe and happy Halloween, and I look forward to seeing everyone at Conference.