President’s Message

BRIAN R. MARVEL

PORAC President

Staying Connected With Members

One of my highest priorities as the president of PORAC is the membership and meeting your needs. As so, I am always looking for new and better ways to connect with members, share resources and ensure an open line of communication. That is why PORAC is working to update, reorganize and improve our website to make it easier and simpler for members to access the information and resources you need and to increase opportunities for you to communicate directly with PORAC chapter and senior leadership. With that in mind, we are creating individual chapter landing pages. This will bring all the chapters under the PORAC umbrella website, allow for the individuality each chapter represents throughout the state, share photos, send messages, request materials and more.

We value and encourage our members’ input and are always looking to keep you in the loop on the latest and greatest that PORAC has to offer. We look forward to using the updated website as an improved resource, something we feel will become increasingly important as virtual communication has become the primary mode of communication during the pandemic, and we fully expect that trend to continue.

PORAC Member Benefits

PORAC membership is incredibly valuable, and as an organization, we are committed to sharing with you all the information you may need to take full advantage of the many benefits, programs and services that come with your PORAC membership. We are currently working to create new educational materials and are talking with your chapter leaders about the PORAC services they feel are the most useful and how we can better provide you with opportunities to participate. As we develop these new materials and collect input from your chapter leaders, I want to take a moment to highlight a few of our most important programs and encourage you to learn more about how you can benefit from them.

One of our most valuable and successful programs, PORAC’s Legal Defense Fund (LDF), is the nation’s oldest, largest and most respected public safety legal plan. The LDF currently has reserves of more than $40 million, providing over 135,000 members with access to attorneys, experts and investigators when needed. We know there are times in this job that require legal assistance, and we want to make sure our members are always protected. The LDF includes cost-covering programs for court costs, expert witnesses and other expenses that could make or break a case, along with 24/7 emergency legal response services following a critical incident. Whether the case costs $100,000 or $1,000,000 to defend, we keep our long-standing promise of never skimping when our members’ lives and careers are on the line. Quite honestly, PORAC’s LDF is the platinum program of the United States.

We also know a career in law enforcement is a dangerous job, and we want to ensure our members and your families are always covered and prepared for unexpected accidents or illnesses, medical expenses and home or auto incidents. The Insurance and Benefits Trust (IBT) aims to provide the best comprehensive insurance products at a reasonable price while providing support to our members in understanding how these products can best protect you and advocate for members in cases when you need assistance with any type of insurance issue or question. In addition, IBT’s health insurance plan is one of, if not the best in the state. I would highly recommend trying to utilize or get access to it.

In addition to supporting our members while they are still on the job, a PORAC membership provides lifelong benefits. The PORAC Retiree Medical Trust (RMT) is a financial tool that allows current members to save money tax-free today, accrue interest tax-free and cover medical expenses in retirement tax-free. Planning for your future should always be on the top of your mind, and PORAC wants to ensure our members are taking advantage of this program today to secure you and your family’s financial future in retirement. If your agency does not provide any retiree medical health plans, contact PORAC RMT right away. It is never too late to plan for tomorrow.

These are just a few of the benefits PORAC members have access to. You can learn more about these programs and more on the PORAC website at the top of the homepage or on the Membership Benefits Summary webpage.

Increasing PORAC’s National Presence Through New Partnerships

As PORAC continues to increase our footprint at the state and national level, we are pursuing new branding opportunities to highlight our organization’s leadership. We are excited to announce a new partnership with NASCAR Xfinity Series and Mike Harmon Racing driver Kyle Weatherman. We will be sponsoring Weatherman in two upcoming races, March 6 and September 25, with PORAC-designed and PORAC-branded decals for his car. This exposure will be a new and creative way to promote PORAC’s name and raise awareness about our organization on a national level. The March race will be on FS1, and the September race will be on NBCSN.

Weatherman, along with the entire Mike Harmon Racing team, has been outspoken supporters of the law enforcement community through the years and most recently, with several “Back the Blue” programs sponsored by additional law enforcement partnerships. We are working with the organizers of these races to get discounted tickets for our PORAC members and will keep you updated on this exciting partnership. We are looking forward to cheering Kyle on as he takes the checkered flag in the PORAC #47 race car.

Vice President’s Message

Damon Kurtz

PORAC Vice President

This spring marks a full year of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was in March of last year that the PORAC Executive Committee was in Washington, D.C., meeting with our legislators when the Capitol and country shut down. At the time, I remember thinking this was just a bad flu. Little did we know how dangerous the virus would be. As law enforcement officers, we are trained to handle so many different situations. We study tactics and practice new techniques on how to handle any situation. We engage in countless mental scenarios of critical incidents so that if and when we are called to face such an event, we are prepared. Never in my wildest dreams did I think our most deadly foe would be a virus. How does one prepare for a virus? Especially one that is so random in how it will affect us as individuals.

I have always had respect for my fellow officers and the law enforcement profession. A desire to make things better drove me to get involved in the Association. It was always a source of motivation for me to help our officers and their families in crisis. With the losses of officers and loved ones from COVID experienced in our profession, I have never felt so helpless when it comes to fighting for our officers.

Whether I was representing the Fresno POA or now at PORAC, there is usually a clear path to provide protection for our officers. Normally, this strategy involved fighting for a benefit, legislation/policy, equipment or training. We had a plan to make sure our officers were prepared and protected in some way. For PORAC, that strategy involved workers’ compensation presumptions and vaccinations of first responders. Now that the vaccinations are underway, it is my hope that the virus will subside, and the dangers of law enforcement will not include an invisible threat of COVID-19.

This pandemic has recently hit home for me here in my own agency. As I write this article, I was just notified that Fresno P.D. has lost a second officer to this virus.  Sergeant Paul Brown of Fresno P.D. was one of my sergeants I worked for on midnights in patrol. He was a good leader full of compassion and a great sense of humor. He will truly be missed by so many, just as those you have lost in your agencies will be missed. Too many officers and family members have been taken from us before their time.

This pandemic has highlighted more than ever the need for peer support programs.  Our associations were formed to help the widows and orphans of our officers. So many have been affected by this virus, and it’s incumbent on us to make sure we focus on the families of our officers in need. Whether it’s through direct assistance of emotional support or using fundraising efforts like PORAC’s Fund a Hero program, we as association leaders can make a difference.

This year, PORAC will be introducing a peer support class in conjunction with the line-of-duty death class. The training will be specifically designed to help develop and maintain a peer support program. Whether you are in a large association or a small one, there are programs to fit your needs.  

Treasurer’s Message

Shawn Welch

PORAC Treasurer

Two months down for 2021. While writing this article, the stock market is hitting new heights, the governor is getting close to being recalled, the majority of the state is still in the purple tier of COVID restrictions and the second impeachment trial for former President Trump has concluded. And we all thought 2021 was going to be less exciting.

Regarding the current financials of PORAC, here are some positives for 2020. Due to COVID and the state lockdown, PORAC was able to save hundreds of thousands of dollars. Which is not great, but just the reality. PORAC was able to use some of this money to pay for a portion of the furniture for the new building. PORAC also was able to put $300,000 into our investments, which is projected to grow considerably in 2021 (please refer to your broker for investment advice). As Vice President Kurtz continues to actively bring more members to join PORAC, we will continue to grow financially.

The final financial state for 2020 will be concluded soon, and hopefully, I will be able to share with you the actual numbers. I will also be able to give you an unaudited first quarter for 2021. 

Now, let’s talk about savings and checking accounts. What should we do for a bank account? The short answer would be a checking and savings account. At the least, all associations should have a business or corporation checking account. These types of accounts usually have a lot more paperwork to sign and rules on how the finances are distributed. One important difference is a business checking account (should) require multiple signatures on all checks. An important reason for having a business account is that association money is not tied to the treasurer or other association members. Regarding savings, we all know that a savings account is going to make little to nothing in interest. But if you do not have any money in investments, it is a good place to start.

President’s Message

Brian R. Marvel
PORAC President

I never would have thought in a million years, or at least in my lifetime, that I would see the U.S. Capitol building breached by a mob of malcontents whose sole intent was to disrupt the process in the peaceful transition of power, something our country has done for over two centuries. Needless to say, it was very disconcerting and unfortunate to see the actions that were taken on January 6. Since then, I have heard a lot of comparisons between what happened at the Capitol and what happened in 2020, with the many protests that devolved into riots and people engaging in the destruction of private and government property. I do not view the two as similar, which I am sure some people will disagree with my view, but the reality is that the Capitol is sacred ground; it’s the seat of power for our nation. It is our temple that represents the foundation of our democracy, freedom and who we are as a people. The people who stormed the Capitol blatantly showed their disrespect for our country, its laws and its ideals.

They also disrespected those in law enforcement, who abide by the rule of law, the courts and the Constitution that we all swore an oath to uphold. These individuals assaulted, attacked and injured our brothers and sisters of the U.S. Capitol and Metro Police. Over 50 Capitol Police officers were injured in the riot, with 15 being transported to the hospital and, sadly, the death of Officer Brian Sicknick. In addition, an officer had to use lethal force and Capitol Police Officer Howard Liebengood took his own life the following day.

Investigations into the breach have begun. Hopefully soon, we will have a much better idea of how it all happened, who was involved and what the charges are going to be for those individuals who felt they could desecrate the Capitol. As part of this, PORAC has sent a letter to Senate and House leadership and the California delegation asking that there be a full accounting and investigation into why Capitol Police leadership were seemingly unprepared for such a breach and why the rank-and-file officers defending the Capitol were left so vulnerable to being attacked. Ultimately, with this investigation request, we ask that rank-and-file members, who specialize in riots and demonstration containment, be well represented on any forthcoming investigative commission or panel to ensure that there is a fair, impartial investigation into the events that unfolded. We will keep our members apprised of our efforts in this matter as more information becomes available.

 

HELP Is Available for PORAC Members

With the COVID-19 vaccine slowly being administered to frontline and essential workers nationwide, we are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel for this pandemic. But we have a long way to go, as ICU beds continue to fill up across our state and COVID-related deaths continue to rise.

More than 100 public safety officers have died in the line of duty from COVID. I know over the last couple of years we have reminded our members about our Hazardous Exposure Listing Program (HELP). Now, more than ever, this program should be utilized by every PORAC member to document all of their exposures and potential exposures to individuals who may have COVID. This free program was designed to protect your rights and benefits if anything happens to you on the job (e.g., exposure to hazardous substances and infectious diseases, etc.). HELP ensures you have a record outside of your employer’s system that you can rely on. For more information about this invaluable resource, visit PORAC.org and click on the HELP banner image.

 

Legislation at the State and Federal Levels

As we head into the new two-year legislative cycle at the federal and state levels, I want to update our members on some of the issues that will be a priority for us this year. On the federal side, with the change in the legislative makeup of the 117th Congress, we have a great opportunity to successfully see the repeal of the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO). The bill to accomplish this, H.R. 4540, the Public Servants Protection and Fairness Act, unfortunately did not make it out of the 116th Congress. But I will say, in the last 12 years that I’ve been actively involved in legislation, it was the furthest I’ve ever seen a bill like that go. I think we have a good prospect for getting this measure passed in this new Congress. The other big bill we believe has a great chance of passing is S. 2552/H.R. 4527, the Expanding Health Care Options for Early Retirees Act, which would lower the Medicare eligibility age for public safety officers to 60. We hope that over these next two years, we can advance these bills and see them successfully across the goal line. It would be very advantageous for all our members to reap the benefits that these two bills would provide.

Unfortunately, due to COVID, the Executive Committee will be unable to do our annual D.C. fly-in to advocate for the new bills in person. We have modified our game plan and have virtual meetings with our California delegation and other congressional leaders. This will also give us a chance to have other association leaders attend and participate in these critical meetings. We will continue to collaborate with other law enforcement groups in California and across the nation so that we
present a unified voice, pushing in the same direction to see these bills succeed.

Locally, here in Sacramento, we are reviewing approximately 40 public safety bills. This is just the tip of the iceberg; during the last two-year session, we monitored 463 bills. As most people know, several notorious bills did not make it out of the Legislature last year, but without fail, they were immediately reintroduced on December 7. We will continue to actively oppose these bills. February will be an extremely busy month as we will be monitoring new bills that are introduced, conducting meetings and testimonies virtually and working with the newly appointed California attorney general on priorities for public safety issues.

Vice President’s Message

Damon Kurtz
PORAC Vice President

As we head into spring, things are coming into focus as this year’s legislative session takes shape. The last day for legislators to file for new bills is February 19. With more than 30 bills we are already tracking, this year will be as challenging as ever. The pandemic remains an issue when it comes to our advocacy efforts to meet with lawmakers. Every year there always seems to be new twists and turns that we must navigate, and this year will no doubt have its share of twists. Law enforcement reform is still a major focus of the State Legislature and the federal government. At PORAC, we have been busy preparing for whatever this year throws at us.

The one constant that can be expected is the divisiveness of our elected officials on both sides of the aisle. This was on full display in the aftermath of the violent protests that occurred January 6 at the U.S. Capitol. For the past year, we have watched as our lawmakers downplayed the violence and destruction of protests across the nation. The divisive rhetoric of partisan politics culminated with the events that unfolded at our nation’s capital. I watched in dismay as our brothers and sisters in law enforcement placed themselves in harm’s way to protect the Capitol and the people inside, just like they have done at every violent protest in cities across the nation. Our officers have been put in impossible situations and continue to serve our communities with honor and integrity. The violence at the Capitol was especially disheartening to see. As a military veteran and as an American, to see this type of activity at the Capitol was a new low. For me, a riot is a riot no matter the cause or the location, there is no difference. The tragic loss of life and destruction of property should be denounced regardless.

What is clear to me is that we have millions of Americans who feel disenfranchised with our government. I hoped for our lawmakers to see this incident as an opportunity to put partisan politics aside and come together as Americans, not as Republicans or Democrats. Instead, it has been more of the same, and the parties seem to be doubling down on the rhetoric. We can only hope that as the new administration takes office, the rhetoric and the theater of politics will subside, and we can work on issues as our Founding Fathers intended.

For President Marvel and I, we will continue to focus on things we can control. We will continue to be a voice of reason and insert ourselves in the conversations related to law enforcement and bring commonsense to the table.

Here in California, the election of Biden and Harris has caused vacancies for U.S. Senate seats and state attorney general. This will cause a myriad of changes within the State Legislature. Some will be filled by the governor’s appointment and some will trigger special elections. PORAC is monitoring these changes and will keep you informed on any developments and what to expect from the new office holders.

Although the pandemic continues to create challenges, the PORAC staff continues to work on training and events. It is our hope that we will be able to provide the membership with training and networking opportunities soon.

As always, stay healthy and stay safe out there!

Treasurer’s Message

Shawn Welch
PORAC Treasurer

So you were elected to be the treasurer for your association and you have attended your first board meeting. During the meeting, you gave a treasurer’s report to the board and they more than likely voted to approve the report. For many treasurers, this report is extremely simple because you have a checking account and possibly a savings account. There is not a lot of money moving from the association to other businesses or bills. So does this mean that the treasurer and board should not worry about having rules on the duties of the treasurer, rules on the expenditure of finances and oversight on budgeted funds?

The simple answer is, of course you should worry. Without rules, regulations and policies regarding the financials of an association, you are asking for problems.

First, as treasurer, you should be able to look in the association’s bylaws and find out your duties as the elected/appointed treasurer. Usually, the section is not that long, but it outlines the great responsibilities carried by the treasurer. PORAC’s Bylaws read as follows: “The Treasurer shall be the chief financial officer responsible for ensuring compliance with the fiscal policies of these Bylaws, the Board of Directors, and Executive Committee. (S.R.).” A chief financial officer (CFO) is the officer of the company/association responsible for managing the company’s finances, including financial planning, management of financial risks, record-keeping and financial reporting. PORAC also clarifies this by stating that the CFO will ensure compliance with the Bylaws and Standing Rules. Now, most associations will not have a long list of standing rules, such as those of PORAC, but you can. According to PORAC’s Standing Rules, the treasurer’s duties include the preparation and filing of state and federal taxes, audits, financial reports (quarterly reports to the Board), keeping financial records/transactions of PORAC, expending budgeted funds and managing reimbursements. As I said before, most associations do not go this in-depth, but it might be a good idea to do so to protect the association. 

Second, as the treasurer, you should have a budget committee and possibly a financial committee. These committees would be organized by the president, and the treasurer should be the chair of the committees. The budget committee should meet at a minimum once a year to review the previous year’s expenditures and to finalize the budget for review by the board of directors. Once the board of directors approves the budget, the treasurer now has guidance to oversee and ensure compliance with the fiscal policies of the bylaws. So who checks the treasurer and board on the expenditure of the financials? This is the purpose of a financial committee. The financial committee reviews the books, vouchers and records to assure compliance with the fiscal policies of the bylaws. At the end of the year, the financial committee reports to the members of the association on its findings.

All these steps might seem like a lot of work for the treasurer and committee members. The short answer is, yes, it is a lot of work. But it is extremely important to members of any association to be informed of the financials of their organization. As leaders in small or large associations, we have a responsibility to protect the financials of the association. Any member of any association should be able to ask for the financial records of the association. And the treasurer or board of directors should be happy to share the information without worry of their actions on expenditures.

Finally, and probably the most important part, is to contact your labor representatives and ask them to review your bylaws. The following are some examples of questions that should get answered: What is my responsibility as the treasurer? Is there ability for wrongdoing? Do we need to set standing rules for reporting expenditures, financials and budgets annually? Do you know of an attorney to look over our state and federal tax requirements? There are several more questions we could all come up with — there are no stupid questions. Once you believe your bylaws are satisfactory, take all your records to a CPA or labor representative and have them review the association financials.

I truly believe that if you just spend some time reviewing your bylaws and how the financials of your association are managed, you will be much more confident as a treasurer. Stay safe and make it to retirement healthy.

President’s Message

Brian R. Marvel
PORAC President

I hope everyone had an opportunity to spend time with family during the holidays. Obviously, with COVID-19, this holiday season felt far from normal. As the world deals with the pandemic, many people have had loved ones pass away or suffer from COVID to varying degrees. Hopefully, the people close to you were safe and healthy during 2020, and any family and friends who contracted the virus made it through and are doing well.

I find the end of the year is an important time, even in our current situation, as I reflect on the past year’s accomplishments and failings, not only as the president of PORAC but also in my personal life. In addition, I look forward to the new year with the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, and boy do we have them.

We are now dealing with the ramifications of the statewide elections. The Los Angeles District Attorney’s race did not go our way, and now the impacts of the new regime of George Gascón are beginning to be felt. Immediately following his swearing-in, Gascón issued a nine-page edict outlining changes to policies and procedures within the DA’s Office. Mind you, Gascón has never prosecuted a case and claims to have served over 30 years with the LAPD. His regime will no longer request cash bail, no longer seek the death penalty under any circumstances and no longer file enhancements irrespective of the type of crime and without exceptions.

One of the other items I would like to highlight is that if an officer has to defend themselves in a life-and-death incident and ultimately uses lethal force against a suspect, the DA’s Office will immediately provide support to the suspect’s family within 24 hours. Take, for example, a scenario where a suspect breaks into a house and beats, robs and kidnaps the homeowners; officers ultimately catch up with the suspect and engage with him, and then during the apprehension there is an officer-involved shooting and the suspect is killed. The L.A. District Attorney’s Office will treat the suspect as the victim and provide taxpayer-funded services to the suspect’s family to make sure that they are treated fairly, versus the true victims who have been traumatized by the suspect.

Needless to say, Gascón received a lot of backlash in his first week of office. Even the local mainstream media came after him, although the question is how long they will do so. If you get a chance, you should read his first edict and follow-up clarification edict, which explicitly states any enhancements or strikes shall be withdrawn and if not possible to dismiss the case. Gascón doubled down and essentially said, as NBC Los Angeles summarized it, “he’s confident a blanket order that bans sentencing enhancements is a necessary step toward justice reform, regardless of what crime victims and their families may want.” Usually, we are on the receiving end of a one-finger salute, but Gascón has decided to give it to the victims!

As I have said many times before, and will continue to say, the L.A. District Attorney’s race was vitally important for everybody in the state to be actively involved in. Unfortunately, Los Angeles County will have to suffer under Gascón’s regime for the time being. Moreover, the public defenders are in cahoots with the DA. They can electronically file a report that the deputy district attorneys are violating his edict — a double whammy for victims. Hopefully the “Recall Gascón” effort gets legs, and more victims are willing to stand up and fight back. Until then, if you live in, work in or visit L.A. County, please be safe. Gascón and his ilk look at you as criminals and not the guardians you are.

On top of that, we have tough times ahead of us with the current makeup of the California Legislature. I believe that we should always expect the best but prepare for the worst. There will be changes to our profession this year; how detrimental they will be is hard to predict at this point. We will have to intensify our grassroots effort and collaboration with all our law enforcement partners, and I will ask each of you to reach out to your local statewide elected officials to make sure they get the message that public safety is a priority, in not only funding but support. We need to make “defund the police” a toxic phrase for elected officials. I hate to start the first month of the new year on a dour note, but the truth is that the future looks bleak. Whatever comes, however, please know that PORAC will be here to support and advocate for you, our members, and all our law enforcement brethren, throughout 2021 and beyond.

Over the last year and now with our second statewide shutdown, a lot of pressure and stress has been placed on business owners throughout the state, especially small business owners, as they try to keep their workers employed and stay financially afloat while continuing to serve their customers. Now more than ever, we should all try to support the small businesses in our community, especially those that have stepped up to support us in our times of need over the years, when we have lost brothers and sisters in the line of duty. These difficult times present us with a great opportunity for law enforcement to give back by supporting our local business communities in return. They were there when we needed them; now they need us. Please shop local.

Vice President’s Message

Damon Kurtz
PORAC Vice President

As expected, on the political level 2021 has started much like last year. Within a few days of the start of this year’s legislative session, there were already several bills on proposed law enforcement reform. Despite a lack of experience, it seems everyone is now an expert on law enforcement and has decided they have the best idea on how it should be done.

It’s sad that this concept has now permeated every facet of the media. I’ve grown accustomed to seeing this in the news media, but now it seems to be even in the TV shows our friends and family watch. I used to scoff at most TV shows when they depicted law enforcement, because it was usually too grandiose or completely inaccurate to how the job is done. Now I just get angry because law enforcement is no longer shown as a heroic profession. It is now portrayed as a profession full of immoral and bigoted people who have no regard for the communities they serve. In my 26 years of experience, I know this to be a false depiction; the bad apples are the exception, not the norm. The men and women of law enforcement are some of most caring and compassionate people in any profession. So many go above and beyond what the job requires to help those in need — but you already knew that.

I keep seeing our elected leaders and persons of influence talk about creating an environment of trust between communities and law enforcement, yet their actions and words do the opposite. The truth is that the media and our politicians will stoke these fires and promote the division in our communities as long as it gets votes or viewership.

Although all of this frustrates me and makes me angry, it also motivates me. I know we are better, and I have been put in a position to carry that message to anyone who will listen. The advocacy we do at PORAC is at the state and national level because we have that platform, but I still advocate at the local level when I can. I know I am a broken record on this issue, but it all starts at the local level. As ambassadors of the profession, we must be more proactive in our outreach and involvement at the local levels. Your local POA and DSA are essential in creating the dialogue and trust in our communities. It’s up to us to create and maintain a healthy relationship in our communities. I often see angry posts on social media from members of law enforcement lashing out at those who advocate for law enforcement reform. I would encourage all of us to focus on working with our local associations to bring that message, rather than continuing with the vitriol for all to see.

This year’s legislation is much like last year’s. The main focus seems to be on creating a law enforcement licensing system in which a peace officer’s POST certificate can be revoked for wrongdoing. In concept, this not a bad thing as long as the process is fair and equitable, devoid of political pressures. Unfortunately, since it’s the politicians who create the laws, there are always politics involved. At PORAC, we are hard at work trying to come to resolutions on the bills the Legislature brings forward without negative impacts on the profession. We know this is a tall order, but it’s one we are committed to.

On a more positive note, we are looking ahead to a new year of training and events. We are hard at work putting together a full schedule of new and established classes for the upcoming year. The 2021 Symposium and POREF Open Golf Tournament will be here before you know it (April 15–17). With most of 2020’s events having been canceled, we look forward to seeing everyone again. We expect the trainings and events to sell out, as there is limited space, so do not delay in registering if you plan on attending one. I hope to see you all in person soon. Take care, stay healthy and stay safe out there!

Treasurer’s Message

Shawn Welch
PORAC Treasurer

Hello, fellow PORAC members. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season with their family and friends.

I would like to thank everyone who has put their trust in me to be PORAC’s new treasurer. In the next two years, I look forward to being more involved in PORAC and working with the Board of Directors and PORAC staff to represent you all as the treasurer.

Throughout 2021, I plan to keep you all informed on PORAC’s financials and the essential responsibilities of an association treasurer.

PORAC’s financials encompass a wide variety of accounts, ranging from general funds to political activity to all our invested portfolios. Knowing I do not have a lot of space to write and not wanting to bore you all to death, when needed I will be giving updates on the status of the funds. If something big happens, I will try to focus on one aspect and still give the basic status of all the funds.

I would like to review the basic responsibilities of an association treasurer: the legal responsibilities you have to the association, fiduciary responsibilities to the membership and some possible issues that you can face if you do not properly handle the finances of your association. Managing the association finances is one of the biggest responsibilities a board of directors has. Strong finances allow your association to pay for charity work in your local area, conduct public outreach (political or nonpolitical), assist during contract negotiations and help out your members.

For these reasons, the directors need to ensure the proper amount of dues is being collected from the association’s members. If an association is not interested in politics (not sure why that would be), all you should need is money to pay for legal defense and negotiations at a minimum. That can cost a lot, depending on politics in your area or the legal issue. You might only need 1% to 2% of monthly salary or a flat fee from all members. Whatever you choose, it has to be sufficient to the needs of the association. It is the job of the treasurer to ensure you keep to the budget and/or request a large enough amount of money.

The directors, and especially the treasurer, need to know how to set up financial accounts that will prevent illegal activities. We have all read about associations losing money to someone because there were not redundant checks and balances on distributing money. The easiest is a dual signature on checks. This means two people have to sign the check and agree to the distribution of the money. Other steps are monthly or quarterly audits or reconciliation of the accounts.

The above are just a few of the basics of being a treasurer for an association. Over the next year, I will be covering these in greater detail and having question-and-answer interviews with financial organizations PORAC uses. Hopefully, it will be informative and helpful to you as members and association leaders.

President’s Message

Brian R. Marvel
PORAC President

Although the 2020 elections are over, as I am writing this article, a lot of races are still too close to be called. However, several of the races PORAC was involved in have already been decided, and unfortunately, a few did not go our way. This includes the Los Angeles district attorney’s race, which saw San Francisco’s former chief of police and appointed district attorney George Gascón edge out Jackie Lacey in a hard-fought contest. As evidenced by his pro-criminal policies, soaring violent crime and property crime rates in San Francisco under his watch, there is no sugarcoating the fact that Gascón will be detrimental to law enforcement and all of Los Angeles County. When he gets sworn into office on December 7, he will usher in the golden age of criminality for L.A. County. One of the biggest reasons this race was so important for all LE in the state, Gascón is part of the Prosecutors Alliance of California, a faux public safety group acting as a wolf in sheep’s clothing that has a clear pro-criminal, anti-police agenda. While the group — which includes DAs Chesa Boudin (San Francisco), Diana Becton (Contra Costa County) and Tori Verber Salazar (San Joaquin) — claims to support public safety, they are really supporters of criminals and not so much for victims. This will only make our work at the Capitol even harder than it already is.

We were also actively involved in the Assembly District 59 race, supporting Efren Martinez in his effort against incumbent Assemblymember Reginald Jones-Sawyer. Although Martinez lost, we are all extremely proud of the tireless effort he put into his campaign. When it came to statewide measures, we were disappointed that Proposition 20 only netted 38% of the vote. This initiative would have made some minor fixes to the flaws in Proposition 47 and 57, along with making sure victims were given the same consideration that criminals receive. As the election results are certified, we will spend the next several months researching and analyzing why the electorate was so split. This autopsy will better position us for 2022.

While these losses sting, I am proud to say that PORAC still has a 90% success rate when it comes to our endorsements. More importantly, I am proud that, rather than pointing fingers and feeling sorry for ourselves, all of us at PORAC are already back with our noses to the grindstone to ensure our members are protected and our profession is the best it can be. As we wait to see what happens in the aftermath of the presidential election, PORAC stands with whoever prevails and takes the oath of office on January 20. We are eager to provide advice and information regarding police and public safety initiatives as we work together to improve our profession for the better.

We are not about making headlines or sensationalizing half-truths in order to twist the narrative to our advantage. As several cities continue to experiment with their communities, we can list real-world impacts for citizens with the defund-the-police rhetoric. Just look at Minneapolis, where their elected leaders continue to defund the police and conduct baseless social experiments on their citizenry while their police force dwindles and the community crumbles! Homicides are up 50%, and more than 500 people have been wounded by gunfire this year, the highest number in over a decade, according to The Washington Post. It has gotten so bad, the city council had to recently approve spending money to bring in outside police officers to help before Minneapolis completely falls apart. Appeasement is never a plan for success. Peter Moskos said it best, “Slogans and sociological theories don’t prevent violence. Policy and policing based on evidence and proven research-based strategies do.” One bit of good news is that a judge ruled in favor of citizens being able to sue the city to comply with the charter, as well as to stop any hiring freezes, and ensure proper training for the MPD is in place.

While November is always a big month for PORAC, COVID-19 restrictions forced us to cancel our 68th Annual Conference of Members and instead have a smaller Board of Directors meeting. I want to take a moment to offer my sincere gratitude to Tim Davis, who spent the past two years doing an incredible job as treasurer. Tim provided PORAC with a solid financial base and continued the high standard for all to follow. Please welcome our new treasurer, Shawn Welch of Contra Costa County DSA, who will take the seat starting January 1. I also want to thank Tony Sanders, Tony Bolanos, Tim Caughron and Brian Avera of the Executive Committee for their service and commitment to PORAC and the membership. I would like to introduce our newest Executive Committee members, Eric Schmidt (Region II, Fresno DSA), Grant Ward (Region IV, Sheriff’s Employees’ Benefit Association) and Edgar Hampton (Region IV, Anaheim POA), who you can read more about in this issue. In addition, PJ Webb (L.A. School PMA) has officially retired. He was the chair of the Specialized Police Association Coalition (SPAC) Committee. Over the last several years, he was an invaluable advisor to me on making sure our SPAC members were always included in our discussions on legislation, nationally and in our state. Congratulations! Thank you for all your assistance and dedication to our profession and organization.