President’s Message

Brian R. Marvel
PORAC President

In the past several months, our profession has worked harder than ever before to spearhead positive change in our communities, listen to concerns from residents and immediately call out unacceptable actions by members of our profession. Yet, you’ll be hard-pressed to find much from the media about the monumental strides our profession has made, from the groundbreaking formation of the new PORAC-led United for Positive Reform (UPR) coalition to our continued efforts to push for a national conversation about universal training, recruitment and use-of-force standards.

Instead, the media has taken what happened in Minneapolis and used it to spread misinformation, sensationalism and bald-faced lies about our profession in an attempt to tarnish law enforcement as much as possible and turn our cities into fend-for-yourself wastelands. One such article that made my head spin was a hit piece from The New Yorker by a Harvard history professor titled “The Invention of the Police,” in which she claims “two-thirds of Americans between the ages of 15 and 34 who were treated in emergency rooms suffered from injuries inflicted by police and security guards, about as many people as the number of pedestrians injured by motor vehicles.” You can imagine my surprise when the author, who failed to provide any sort of evidence to support this outrageous claim or mention where this information came from, received zero consequences for her clearly false claim. Instead, after enough people called out the deceitful rhetoric, The New Yorker finally acquiesced and placed a correction — a short, one-sentence blurb at the end of her 5,000-word tripe — that stated the passage was simply a “misrepresentation.”

This article is just one example of the constant attempts made on a daily basis to wreak havoc on our proud and hardworking profession. When radicalized and false messaging is pushed out and consumed by the public, it’s unfortunately no surprise when we see violence and harassment against peace officers erupt around the country. In the past few months alone, we’ve seen disturbing incidents in which officers have had their homes vandalized, their cars defaced for sporting thin blue line stickers and their children threatened simply because of their parent’s profession. Yet, this same media barely covers the violence against us and continues to use the misnomer that these protests are “peaceful.”

As a result of the noise from a very vocal minority, the “cancel culture” hysteria has been set on overdrive in recent months against anything that portrays law enforcement in a remotely positive light. First, the Paramount Network canceled Cops right before the premiere of its 33rd season. Then, A&E pulled the plug on Live PD (with the network seeing a 49% viewership drop and a loss of roughly $292.6 million in advertising since doing so). Now we’re seeing cancel culture rear its ugly head toward cartoon shows, with the popular children’s show PAW Patrol facing backlash, not from the kids who watch the show, but from grown adults, with some calling for the removal of Chase, the crime-fighting police dog, from the show’s cast of characters.

The insanity doesn’t stop there. The Northwest Film Center in Portland, Oregon, canceled its outdoor screening of the 1990 classic Kindergarten Cop (which was filmed in Oregon) over complaints that the movie “romanticizes over-policing in the U.S.” Finally, I recently read a post that had me shaking my head from an Austin, Texas, bike shop that decided to cancel its $314,000 contract with the Austin Police Department after three employees said they felt uncomfortable providing bikes to officers and didn’t like how officers were using the bikes to manage crowds. You can’t make this stuff up.

We are indeed living in a much different world than we were at the beginning of the year. Being a peace officer in California, and nationally, has never been smooth sailing, but now we are faced with more challenges than ever, thanks in large part to our elected officials being so afraid of the mob and so out of touch with reality that they’ve chosen to slash police budgets without thinking of the consequences and move forward with the push to let non-sworn civilians do the job of trained law enforcement officers. If this “reimagined” public safety solution ends badly, like the maiming or death of one of these workers, there will be blood on the hands of these elected officials.

As shown in the countless hours PORAC has spent working on positive change, we understand as well as anyone about the need to have important conversations on policing and public safety. True wisdom is knowing what we don’t know and recognizing that. Sadly, that lack of true wisdom is on full display in Sacramento!

With all the craziness that’s happened in recent months, there is still reason to celebrate. This month, as we celebrate PORAC’s 67th birthday, I can’t help but feel extremely grateful and humbled to be the president of such a tremendous organization. An organization that championed professionalizing law enforcement, protecting the rights of our members, and most recently creating the first-in-the-nation standardized statewide training on use of force, to name just a few. As we near 70 years as an association, please take a few moments to reflect on why you entered this profession and how all of us together can ensure PORAC remains strong for years to come. But make no mistake, taking law enforcement shows off the air, removing characters who portray police officers and shunning the hundreds of thousands of peace officers who serve and protect this country is no way to do it.

Vice President’s Message

Damon Kurtz
PORAC Vice President

We are now about three-quarters of the way through the year, and I, for one, am looking forward to the normalcy of what an off-election year brings in 2021. To say this has been a challenging and disappointing year would be an understatement. Put aside the issues surrounding COVID-19, the political ramifications that have arisen from this year will be long felt. I do not think I ever thought that our political system could ever be as divisive as it has become. I have watched in disappointment the hate and vitriol spewing from the left and right. Worse yet, the media has become complicit in spreading hate and fear within our communities. Where does the public go to get the true news without political bias? We are constantly bombarded with half-truths and sometimes outright lies. Is it any wonder why there is so much unrest? Propaganda has been used for hundreds of years to undermine governments and political systems. Our media has become nothing more than propaganda. The “cancel culture,” which we live in today, seems hell-bent on changing the very fabric of our country. It seems the mantra now is, if we do not like our history, we will erase it and rewrite it based on political agenda, despite what the facts may be. God forbid, we focus on our progress and growth. As a nation, we have areas of dark and disappointing history. We also have so many things to be proud of. I think we can look at our own personal history in a similar fashion. I myself can say I have said or done things in my life that I am not proud of. Whether it was out of immaturity, ignorance or arrogance, I have made mistakes. But I have learned from those mistakes and have tried to be a better person as a result. It’s called personal growth. As a nation and as individuals, I think it’s important to know where you came from and where you want to be. 

I have written often about being civically involved and how important it is. Now, more than ever, we need our members to be involved in our communities. The activists have taken over the media and the political agenda. There is a deliberate and very vocal push to defund the police in our communities. Behind the scenes, there is a push to undermine our POAs and DSAs. Our ability to collectively bargain for our members is being attacked as an impediment to reform. If our voice is stifled, who will be there for law enforcement? At PORAC, we often speak of the “silent majority,” but the silent majority is you — those of you not engaged with your local POA or DSA who go out and do the job every day and go home to your families. We need the everyday person to start engaging in their communities. I’m not asking for people to get political. In fact, I think that’s where we all struggle to communicate with each other. As members of the community, we all have similar needs — the desire to live in a safe and clean environment. We need everyone to start having common-sense conversations with our friends, families and neighbors. Call or email your legislators — it does work! I believe together we can make a difference despite the obstacles the media may put in front of us. 

PORAC will continue to be a voice for law enforcement, and be a resource for our elected officials on legislative issues. Through our collective voice of over 930 organizations, we will force dialogue and try to bring reasonable solutions to the elected who, in many cases, act with emotion and without facts. These are tough times, but together we will get through it. Take care and stay safe out there!

Treasurer’s Message

Timothy Davis
PORAC Treasurer

When I started as a police officer in 1998, I remember senior officers telling me not to carry my baton because of the backlash against batons after the Rodney King incident.  While that incident occurred in 1991, the effects could still be felt in Sacramento, seven years later and 400 miles away. Police incidents around the nation are constantly molding our departments, their policies and the way we do our job. As law enforcement officers, the effect of societal pressures on our occupation often lands at our feet in the form of changes to our role as an officer, the rules or policies we are governed by and the tools we are given to do our job.

Changes seem to come in bursts, and there was a large burst that came at the beginning of my career. I remember being questioned back in 1998 by senior officers who were curious about why anyone would want to be an officer anymore, considering all the changes that were occurring in police work. As a new rookie officer, I was happy to be an officer, and I did not see any of the changes as obstacles.

Constant change has been a hallmark of my career as a law enforcement officer. In my first five years on the job, I experienced many changes. Our cars were equipped with in-car cameras (of the VHS tape type), we were required to collect traffic stop data on scantron forms for a racial profiling study, our wood batons were replaced with less visible metal collapsible batons, and we were issued tasers. In addition to equipment changes, we saw changes to our department policies, including changes to the use-of-force policy and the force reporting process, as well as more stringent controls over vehicle pursuits. Most significantly, a civilian oversight monitor was added. While there was a lot of complaining and pushback by the senior officers of the time, I remember thinking that the changes we were experiencing would not affect my enthusiasm for my newly chosen career. As a young, new officer, I was flexible and not yet set in my ways.  I was able to make the adjustments required to adapt to these changed policies and new equipment.

As my career advanced and I became more comfortable in my role as an officer, I also became more set in my ways and less flexible to change. The first time I remember feeling the desire to avoid a department change was when the department rolled out its computer-based report system. I had learned to write all my reports by hand, and I was not overly thrilled about writing reports on a computer. It was not an issue of computer literacy. It was about being told that I had to change something significant about my job. We write many reports, and I did not want to change something that I was comfortable with. Even after the change, I continued to write my reports by hand for another year until I was personally ordered by a supervisor to stop doing hand reports and use the electronic system.

As I have gotten older and more set in my ways, each new change has been more difficult for me to accept and adapt to. Now, after 22 years with the Sacramento Police Department, we have again seen incredibly significant changes to our department equipment and policies. Over the last few years, we have seen the addition of body cameras, less-lethal weapon systems and video releases, as well as changes to our oversite system and our use-of-force policies. I am now hearing again the same questions I was asked at the beginning of my career. The difference now is that it is my generation of officers asking our new officers why anyone would want to be an officer anymore, considering all the changes that are occurring in police work. I’m sure this generation’s answer is just like mine was 22 years ago. They are here to serve the community the best they can.

Change has always been a consistent process in our careers. We have evolved from the gumdrop lights on the top of the 1950s police car to the LED strobe light of our modern cars. We have evolved from call boxes to GPS-enabled digital radios and computerized dispatch. The roles, rules and tools of our profession will always be evolving, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse, but always forward. One thing is for sure — things will always change. We have the ability to adapt to these changes, but it is through our commitment to serving our communities that we will get there.

President’s Message

Brian R. Marvel
PORAC President

Back in June, the Board of Directors discussed re-establishing the Committee on Peace Officer Relations (COPOR), which was created a few decades ago to address diversity issues in police recruitment and encourage agencies to recruit LGBTQ+, people of color and women into the profession. I am happy to announce that the committee has officially been reinstated, but with a renewed focus: to bring diverse voices from PORAC members and the community at large into productive conversations to generate commonsense solutions for a vision of law enforcement that supports public safety.

I selected Executive Committee Director Marshall McClain to chair the committee and Inland Chapter President Rich Randolph as the vice-chair. They will make COPOR’s focus a reality with the help of a cultural caucus of law enforcement members from the Black, Latinx, Asian-American,  Native American, Jewish and LGBTQ+ communities. Together, they form the foundation of United for Positive Reform (UPR), a unique coalition of organizations and community members committed to establishing constructive relationships, finding common ground and generating commonsense solutions for effective systemic change. The group’s mission is to promote a more transparent and accessible vision of law enforcement that supports public safety while including diverse voices and addressing the need for meaningful and sustainable improvement of our profession.

By working alongside faith-based leaders, schools, social justice groups and other stakeholders, we hope to come together and use facts and information to make evidence-based determinations on what reform looks like. We endeavor to make sustainable change through education, communication and collaboration — unlike our opposition, who are creating fear, spreading misinformation, disinformation and propaganda by a willing media, and driving emotional arguments to encourage knee-jerk solutions, such as defunding and abolishing agencies, that do nothing to effect real systemic change or increase public safety.

Unfortunately, we will not get the media coverage like the anti-police protesters are getting because they are willing to say and do outlandish things. A lot of people in leadership positions are fearful of the protesters. As a result, the opposition’s emotional arguments are currently winning the day. However, while they are out there creating divisiveness and animosity, we’re providing reasonable solutions.

Now more than ever, we need harmony, and that is why it was pivotal for us to reinstate COPOR at this crucial time in our profession. The committee’s United for Positive Reform coalition will allow us to reach diverse audiences in various sectors of the community and foster a more inclusive relationship between law enforcement and those they serve, while also helping to further amplify PORAC’s voice on the state and federal levels. I encourage you to get involved in the coalition if you can. Please visit united4positivereform.org for more information.

Speaking of amplifying our voice, on July 8, I was among a small handful of law enforcement leaders who delivered testimony before the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice during a hearing on community trust and respect for law enforcement. In my testimony, I provided recommendations for how we can improve police–community relationships by improving police policies and practices: establishing national standards for recruitment, training and use of force; funding to implement those national standards; and programs and funding for mental health, addiction and homeless services. I am hopeful that our input has provided the commission with insight on how to better our profession.

In addition, we continue to speak with elected leaders in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., providing our input and information on a variety of bill proposals.

At the time of this writing, the Legislature in Sacramento has recessed. This was originally scheduled as a two-week recess, but it has now been extended to three, leaving us with a little over five weeks to address the more than 20 bills that will dramatically affect our profession in the state. We’re hoping common sense prevails because some of the changes being proposed will have substantial repercussions on officer safety, as well as our ability to ensure that the communities we serve are safe. The two biggest bills of concern are AB 1709 (Weber) and AB 1022 (Holden), which can easily be dubbed “cop-killer bills.” (See this month’s Capitol Beat article on page 38 for more information.)

On the federal level, we’ve had conversations with Representative Karen Bass regarding the Justice in Policing Act. We’ve provided our input and thoughts on each component of the act to not only her office but also Senator Dianne Feinstein’s, which reached out immediately for our input. In addition, we have requests to meet with Senator Tim Scott regarding the JUSTICE Act, his Senate bill on police reform. We hope that by communicating with Representative Bass and Senator Scott, we can provide rational and reasoned information on moving police reform forward at the federal level that will improve our profession and public safety.

In closing, you may not see us on Fox News or your local news, but the reality is that we’re talking to the right people at the right time to make sure our experiences, our knowledge and the work we’ve done in California are not overshadowed by other organizations that don’t necessarily reflect the high levels of professionalism that you see in our state. 

Vice President’s Message

Damon Kurtz
PORAC Vice President

Well, we are halfway through 2020, and to be honest, I’m kind of done with the events of this year. It seems like every article I’ve written this year starts out talking about the strange times we are experiencing. It feels like we are living through a cheesy made-for-TV movie with plot twists and conspiracies. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined a world in which “defund the police” is a political platform debated at the highest levels of our government, or in which a pandemic literally shuts down our nation.

Unfortunately, this is the world we live in these days, and it has kept President Marvel and I on our toes. Our advocacy efforts have had to be very adaptive as we try to navigate the political landscape of both state and federal legislation pertaining to law enforcement reform. Reform is not a new thing for law enforcement, and it’s not a scary word. The truth is our profession is and has been in a constant state of reform. Always changing and adapting to new challenges. Always training on new techniques and tactics for better outcomes, both for the officer and the community. The difference is today the reform is about having less law enforcement and, in some cases, no law enforcement.

As our federal, state and local lawmakers debate these issues, many law enforcement agencies have had to re-evaluate their enforcement strategies. Proactive policing has been severely hampered, and consequently, crime is on a sharp increase, especially violent crime. To add to these challenges here in California, we have the added burden of zero bail and the early release of thousands of inmates from our prisons. For some reason, the news media and our elected officials are under the belief that everyone in prison or who is arrested does not deserve to be in prison and is not a danger to our communities.

With all the rhetoric about how bad police are and the protests, what is sadly forgotten is the victims — I will say it again, the victims! They have been completely overshadowed by every political pundit and candidate trying to seize the moment for their own benefit. Where is the outcry for the victims of the crimes these early-release individuals committed? Who stands up for them? Who is standing up for those victimized everyday as crime rates skyrocket in our communities? That is an easy question: it’s our law enforcement officers who swore an oath to protect our communities.

Even as we are maligned in the media and in the political arena, officers continue to do their duty. It’s that sense of duty that motivates our profession. I have said it before, but I am proud of our profession, and most of all, I am proud to have worked side by side with many hardworking officers whose dedication to their job and communities is unrivaled. Knowing the character of the men and women of law enforcement allows me to passionately represent this profession. I rest easy knowing that despite all the ugly rhetoric, our officers are still out there protecting our communities and will continue to do so. As for Brian and I, we will remain laser-focused on the Legislature to make sure common sense  is part of the discussion when it comes to reforms. As always, thank you for your service, and stay safe out there! 

Treasurer’s Message

Timothy Davis
PORAC Treasurer

With all the craziness we have faced this year, I bet many of you have been looking at the calendar to see how soon you can retire. I have seen some officers with apps on their phones that count down the days until the day they have planned for their retirement. Often, officers have two dates in mind: the earliest day they can collect their retirement and the day they reach their maximum retirement benefit. I like to call the period between these two dates the retirement window. The point we actually retire within that window depends on many personal factors.

With the chaos in our world and the direct impact that chaos has on our occupation, it is understandable that many officers, especially those who are already in that window, are now reassessing their retirement plans. While some officers would like the flexibility to leave at the earliest possible date, significant financial obligations eliminate this flexibility and can bind an officer to the job past the point they would prefer to retire.

The key to retirement flexibility is planning for retirement and being responsible with our current finances. As active employees, our income is composed principally of our base pay and our overtime. When overtime is plentiful and regular, it is easy to expand our expenses to the point that we rely on our overtime to meet our monthly obligations.  This can create a significant obstacle to our ability to retire. Only by adjusting our expenses to match our income can we prepare ourselves for retirement.

When entering retirement, an employee needs to be prepared for more than just a reduction in their base income. There are many collateral reductions an officer needs to be prepared for. For an employee who is going to receive a 90% pension, it might be easy to think that you are only going to experience a 10% income reduction in retirement. An officer does not just need to be prepared for the reduction in their base pay, they need to realize that additionally, they will lose any overtime income they are used to and any other non-pensionable pay. Also, and quite significantly, often officers lose their health-care contributions. For an employee with dependents, the cost of traditional HMO coverage could easily be more than $2,000 per month.

There are two main ways an officer can prepare for the reductions in their income that come with retirement: reducing their monthly expenses and using savings and investments to offset the reduced income. It is not unusual for debt payments and mortgage payments to be a significant portion of an officer’s monthly expenditures.  Creating a debt or mortgage repayment schedule where you eliminate your debt and pay off your mortgage prior to entering your retirement window can significantly reduce your monthly obligations and prepare you for a reduced retirement income. Savings, especially deferred-compensation plans, give you the ability to save money for retirement that you can use to offset your reduced income.

Negotiating for retirement medical benefits is also a significant need. Employer-paid lifetime medical benefits are the gold standard, but this benefit has become extremely expensive for employers and is nearly impossible to negotiate as a new benefit. More common are retirement health savings plans like the PORAC Retiree Medical Trust. If your association has not negotiated a retirement medical benefit, this should be a priority for future negotiations.

The earlier you prepare for retirement by living within your income, not relying on overtime to cover your expenses, managing your debt and mortgage, saving and contributing to deferred comp, and participating in a retirement medical benefit, the more flexibility you will have when you enter your retirement window and the more flexibility you will have to choose the retirement date that works best for you. 

President’s Message

Brian R. Marvel
PORAC President

Amazing how the world turns in less than a month. One incident in one city a thousand miles away has upended our entire profession, sparking dramatic calls for police reform at the federal, state and local levels. All the hard work responding to the COVID-19 crisis, the last couple of years working with the Legislature on Senate Bill 230/Assembly Bill 392, and the increased work on building greater relationships and trust within minority communities all pretty much evaporated overnight with the death of George Floyd. A vast majority of peace officers around the nation, including PORAC, were shocked and saddened by what we saw on that video. The actions of that officer and his partners have created an environment where protesters are demanding radical reforms, the abolishment of police unions, defunding police departments and in some places trying to abolish entire agencies. And efforts to have fact-based or logical discussions on these issues have been parked at the front door! Pure emotion is driving a lot of this.

Fortunately, on the federal level, we do not have one-party rule like in California, so we anticipate a modicum of allowing rank-and-file peace officers at the table to discuss the reforms being proposed in the House and Senate. In contrast, in California, the rush and desire to one-up each other on police reform goes almost unchecked. A large portion of elected officials are running scared, fueled by the media fanning the flames of hate and discontent for those who wear the badge and especially those who protect their due process rights, pay and benefits. Even on the local level, we are seeing some city councils enact legislation quickly so we cannot organize. They want to steamroll their reforms through so they can appease the protesters. Appeasement never seems to work out like the appeasers believe it will.

It is not all bad news. We have had some successes, although quietly. The governor has been traveling around the state, touring schools and talking to the kids. As the budget talks were getting close to being a done deal, we caught wind that the governor had proposed eliminating school police departments and school resource officers, among other issues. I thought to myself, “We have come to a place where kids are driving public safety policy. I feel like I’m in the twilight zone or this is an April’s Fool’s joke!” But, alas, it wasn’t. We immediately organized and marshaled the school police members of PORAC to educate and advocate to our elected leaders on the folly of this plan. Within 24 hours of hearing about this, we successfully averted the trailer bill and have now created an opportunity to have dialogue on this issue. We still have friends at the Capitol, we still have supporters, and we are grateful that rational and cooler heads prevailed.

However, although it may appear that our communities have turned their backs on us in some parts of the state, I have faith that a majority of citizens support our profession and our ability to protect and serve our communities. I think it was very telling that the Fund a Hero campaign we created in honor of fallen Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Sergeant Damon Gutzwiller raised more than $750,000 for his family during this very tragic time. That leads me to believe that we have a much stronger base of support than our critics want to portray. As these protests continue, there are so many anti-police media stories that they are running out of talking heads. Now they just bring people in who just lie about police contracts. As with all pendulums, it will swing back, hopefully sooner rather than later for us.

With all of that said, PORAC continues to advocate on the state and federal levels. I have provided testimony to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees regarding police reform. We continue to push for a national conversation about use-of-force policies, training and recruitment. Now more than ever, it appears that what we have been advocating for over the past several years will take hold on the federal level, and California can be a leader in this area. In addition to our federal outreach, we are actively working to make sure that we have a seat at the table to be able to provide input and guide what the reforms will look like here in our state. I firmly believe that our profession will change, but to what degree, I do not know. The Board of Directors is working very hard to make sure your voices are heard. This will require a team effort on all levels.

In closing, I want to take a moment to memorialize Sergeant Gutzwiller, who was killed in the line of duty on June 6, and to send our prayers for a speedy recovery to the other brave officers who were injured in the incident. It is very unfortunate that a member of a far-right extremist group was able to fly under the radar and kill one of our members. We hope that justice is swift, and the federal and state government will take decisive action against this group. If they are willing to tear the fabric of society in Santa Cruz, they are willing to do it nationally, and nothing they advocate for will make America better.

Finally, please be aware that we are doing everything in our power to make sure the annual Conference of Members happens and is a great success. We are experiencing some issues due to the continuing coronavirus pandemic. Please go to PORAC.org/events/conference to sign up for our email alerts to stay fully informed of the status along with other pertinent information.

Vice President’s Message

Damon Kurtz
PORAC Vice President

To say 2020 has been life-altering would be an understatement. We began it with a sense of optimism: After three years of negotiations on use-of-force reform in California, we had landed on a solution that we felt addressed the needs of the public and law enforcement with AB 392 taking effect in January and SB 230 set to go into effect in 2021. But by March, the COVID-19 pandemic was in full effect and we all experienced a complete shutdown of our country. Now, in the aftermath of the George Floyd incident in Minneapolis, we find ourselves in a national battle over extreme reforms to law enforcement at a national level.

I don’t have to write an article about the actions of the officers in Minneapolis; it goes without saying that we as law enforcement officers condemn what occurred. The media and some of our elected officials have used this incident to fan the flames of fear and anger across the country. To say there is an epidemic of police brutality is a gross exaggeration of the numbers. Law enforcement has millions of contacts a year, and a minuscule amount turn into violent encounters. The actions of the suspect are rarely taken into account and often dismissed entirely. This rhetoric has turned to calls for the elimination or defunding of law enforcement across the nation. For those of us who have sworn to protect the communities we serve, we find these arguments offensive and frightening at the same time. It’s rarely acknowledged that we live in the communities we serve. We know these proposals put our own families at risk as well as the public.

We have seen the evil that lurks in our society. We use metaphors to refer to our fellow officers as “sheepdogs” protecting our flock from the wolves that prey on our communities. In 25-plus years in law enforcement, I have worked in three different agencies and a multitude of different communities with different racial and socioeconomic demographics. In every instance, I can tell you the officers in those communities took their jobs as “sheepdogs” to heart. It didn’t stop when they logged off and went home — it is always on their minds. So much of what we do for our communities goes unrecognized because we don’t do this job for the recognition. Officers give every day to the communities they serve, on and off duty.

President Marvel and I have been lobbying nonstop with our elected officials at the local, state and federal levels. We’ve done countless interviews with the media, all in an attempt to force dialogue and rational discussions about police reform. I know that many of our members want to see us out front of the camera with an angry message. I have to tell you we are angry too. We would love to publicly show you and our supporters the anger and disgust we feel about how law enforcement is being depicted. Saying these things may make us feel better, but ultimately, we feel it would only embolden our elected officials to move forward with legislation without our input and dialogue to ensure the reforms are reasonable. Brian and I are using every opportunity to insert PORAC into the discussions being held at the state and national levels. I am very proud of my law enforcement profession, but this does not mean I am proud of some of the things that have been done by those in our profession. It’s not an either-or proposition. Similarly, the calls for defunding the police and funding other programs are not an either-or proposition.

I believe that society must decide what it wants from our profession. All of society’s problems are set at the feet of law enforcement to fix, often with no resources or training to do so. By and large, we do a pretty good job, but in the end, we are still human. The image of a police officer is glamorized in society through Hollywood and other media as the hard-nosed cop, edgy and ready to jump into action at a moment’s notice. We rarely see a softer side of the law enforcement officer depicted in the media. I guess a real look at police work would be too boring for today’s Hollywood. With numerous positive reactions in the public and hours of report writing, it doesn’t fit the agenda of today’s political climate. We all know that in reality, we have to have the ability to be the “edgy cop” in one moment and then be Andy Griffith in the next.

Brian and I will continue to fight for our profession alongside all of you. Thank you for all of your support, and stay safe out there!

Treasurer’s Message

Timothy Davis
PORAC Treasurer

There has been a push by some anti-police groups to either disband or defund the police. Often, those pushing for this radical agenda do so out of an unfair hatred of the police. Others do it out of a desire for anarchy or to overturn our capitalist society and the rule of law. This is a huge step further than the police reform movement we have witnessed in the past.

Over the past several years, we have felt intense pressure to “reform” policing in America. Often, the reforms advocated are not well thought out and would make both our communities and our police less safe by placing dangerous and unrealistic burdens on law enforcement officers. Following every high-profile event, we have seen a new demand for police to make additional concessions, often in the areas of officer safety and due process rights. Removing these existing rights would prevent officers from thoroughly safeguarding our communities while also protecting our safety. Often the concessions are forced on law enforcement agencies by pandering politicians in order to appease a loud but very small segment of our community.

Frequently, police management and labor groups are asked to meet with anti-police activists who are demanding these concessions, with a hope of finding a middle ground. I have found, through my experience, that often there is no middle ground. It is impossible to find a set of policing policies that will appease a group that demands that police no longer exist. While we have seen occasions when departments and activists can agree to a set of policy changes, there always seem to be new demands each time a new police-related event occurs somewhere else in the country.

Fortunately, some policymakers have their heads rooted in reality. We learned this in the debate over the use-of-force standard in California. What was originally floated by anti-police groups was later mitigated by more level-headed policymakers, resulting in a new policy that was only slightly more restrictive than the existing standard. Unfortunately, that is not the end of the debate. Each new high-profile event spurs a new demand for even further concessions. We must remember that for some, the ultimate goal is a world with no police.

Our communities yearn for the safety that is provided by our brave law enforcement officers. Communities across the nation have seen surges in violent crimes take root in the chaos of the last few months. In Sacramento, a gang war emerged out of a law enforcement vacuum that occurred as police resources were pulled from their normal duties and dedicated to responding to riotous protests. In the month since the protests began, Sacramento has seen a 183% increase in shootings over the same period last year. This story has been repeated in many other communities throughout the state and around the nation. Caught in the crossfire, several children become victims of these shootings, yet the spike in crime has gone largely unreported in local media.

I cannot predict what the next wave of demands on law enforcement will entail, but we have already seen some rapid changes. While the events in Minnesota had nothing to do with the carotid restraint, departments across the state have been quick to ban the tool. We have also heard demands to end the use of less-lethal munitions, tear gas, pepper spray, tasers, batons and police canines. Removing less-lethal options will increase the likelihood of officers using deadly force in dangerous situations. If we want our officers to be less likely to use deadly force, we need to give them more tools, not fewer.

While we have not seen a huge push in California to disband municipal police departments, there is a huge push to ban campus police, including both school police departments and school resource officers. Our school police officers are an important tool to keep our vulnerable children safe from both internal and external threats. Additionally, having law enforcement on campus can create important connections between officers and students. As police mentor and serve as positive role models for young people, these relationships can help establish positive links between officers and the communities they serve.

We have also heard demands to move the responsibility for responding to calls involving individuals in mental health crisis and the homeless from police officers to newly hired social workers. The funding for these social workers would come from a corresponding defunding of police departments. These types of calls for service can be among the most dangerous and difficult ones that officers handle. While many officers might agree that much more needs to be done to better serve community members in crisis, the problem does not rest with the police officers who respond, but with what services are available. Officers desperately want to help those in crisis receive the help they need to make permanent life changes, but sadly, due to lack of community services, our officers are only able to temporarily resolve situations that are bound to flare back up once they leave. The issue clearly is not about who we send, but what long-term services are available.

Demands to move these calls from officers to social workers clearly reflect a lack of understanding about the underlying issues. Those in crisis need more services, not fewer. Taking the responsibility away from police officers and giving it to social workers will not solve anything. We need a partnership between law enforcement and social workers, as well as triage centers and long-term services to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives. Without adding long-term care in the areas of mental health, addiction, substance abuse, housing, education and job training, the cycle of calls for service will continue to repeat, no matter who you send to handle them.

PORAC is actively working to protect police officers from the onslaught of half-baked ideas and dangerous policy change proposals. We have already seen many demands and expect to see many more. PORAC is helping our elected officials understand the reasons why we have officers, why they have the tools they have and why they deserve the rights they have. It is important that we show them the logic behind our law enforcement tools, policies and procedures, and not just ride the emotional demands for change projected by a small but vocal group.

Treasurer’s Message

Timothy Davis
PORAC Treasurer

Hopefully, most of us are accustomed to using budgets to guide us in our personal finances. A budget is an important tool for us to manage our money. A personal or family budget is a fundamental part of good financial management. Our budgets should reflect our goals and priorities. Our budgets should also reflect our best estimate of our projected income and how we plan to expend our income. Our expenses can usually be divided into fixed expenses, and those expenses that change from month to month. Our expenses should also align with our goals and priorities. Our budgets should be flexible enough to adjust to changes that can occur during the year. When significant changes occur to our financial situation, we need to take the time to reevaluate our budget, as well as our goals and priorities.

A budget is not just for our families and personal lives. PORAC and each of our local associations operate on a budget. The annual process of creating our association budget is an important and critical part of achieving the missions, goals and priorities of our organization. PORAC’s budget process begins long before the Annual Conference of Members each November; it begins at the start of each year and continues throughout the spring, summer and fall. Committees and the Board of Directors spend the majority of the year working through draft budgets before finally presenting them to the membership. Your local association budget should go through an equally rigorous process. The Board should start the process by setting the association’s goals and priorities. A budget or finance committee should use those goals and priorities, along with historical expenses and anticipated changes, to create a draft budget to be presented to the full Board of Directors for review. If additional changes are needed, they can be made at that time. Eventually, a finished product is ready for implementation.

Once a budget is approved and put into place, the process is not complete. Our budgets are living documents that should be constantly reviewed and even changed when needed. Over the past few months, a lot has changed in the world. Now is the time for us to assess those changes and the impacts it will have on our personal and association budgets. 

In our personal lives, we may have seen changes in our monthly incomes. For some, that might be an increase associated with additional overtime opportunities. For others, it might be a decrease in income as departments cut back on overtime, and perhaps even furlough or lay off employees. We may also have seen a loss in family income as our spouse’s income is negatively affected by business closures. We also need to review our expenses. We may have seen increases or decreases in expenses associated with closures and changes to our work schedules and our children’s school schedules. Take time to review these changes in income and expenses and make sure you are using your financial resources in ways that match your family’s goals and needs. If you are fortunate to be seeing an increase in income, realize that it is likely short-lived and take this opportunity to save some or all of that increase to protect your family against any economic downturns that may occur.

The same steps should be taken by your association. If you are in a leadership role in your association, now is the time to be checking and reviewing your association’s budget. Consider how changes in your city or county’s budget may affect staffing and how those changes could affect your association’s dues income. Will your association members have a greater need for association services this year as a result of a changing world? Have your association’s priorities changed? Is there a greater need to focus on member wellness, including both their physical and mental health? Once your association has reassessed these impacts and changed its goals, make the changes you need to make to your budgets.

A budget is important to keep your association on track. It is not a document to review just once a year. Make it a habit to know your budgets and make the changes needed to adjust to life changes that can occur.