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!

Vice President’s Message

Brent J. Meyer
PORAC Vice President

By the time you read this, the midterm elections are upon us. The past few months have been especially chaotic in politics, with unprecedented change, uncertainty and anger. Americans witnessed a contentious and intense Senate confirmation hearing of a Supreme Court justice that exposed a schism between political parties and genders, unlike anything this generation has ever seen before. It’s indicative of a disturbing and uncomfortable shift away from how we expect things to proceed. 

In the past several years, a bitter and sharp public discourse have dominated public-policy issues. It’s disheartening because the level of professionalism and professional courtesy is seemingly nonexistent in our lawmakers. We seem to have plummeted in the name of justice into a sea of rhetoric.

I am even more frustrated and increasingly worried by elected officials’ targeted legislation toward our profession, which undermines our ability to safely and effectively protect our communities. Governor Brown signed three bills last month that are particularly troubling and are ones that are quite familiar to you by now.

AB 748, which was authored by Assembly Member Phil Ting, requires that video and audio recordings of a “critical incident” involving an officer’s use of force or a legal or policy violation be made available to the public. This bill, which goes into effect July 1, allows the recording to be withheld for 45 calendar days if the release would interfere with an active investigation, subject to extensions. Will this law compromise law enforcement investigations by prematurely releasing only one aspect of the evidence? We’re definitely going to find out. One thing is for certain:  agencies will need to do even more preemptive work to craft the message ahead of only one piece of evidence. Some are already doing this and, thus far, it seems to be nominally effective.

SB 1421, introduced by Senator Nancy Skinner, gives the public access to records of investigations into police shootings, cases of police sexual assault and lying in police reports, beginning January 1. This includes personnel records of police, and all will be made available no later than 18 months after the incident. PORAC President Brian Marvel has said that officers who fear their names could be made public might hesitate in the field before they act, compromising safety.  He might just be right. And what will happen when an officer who has been identified encounters someone who has chosen to dispense their own personal brand of justice? The time has come to make a solid recommitment to our off-duty and personal safety, and to that of our families’.

SB 1437, which Skinner co-authored with Senator Joel Anderson, changes felony murder law so that some accomplices will not be liable for felony murder. Starting January 1, California can no longer treat accomplices in murders the same as if they were the actual killer. SB 1437 also allows felons sentenced under felony murder law to seek resentencing if they meet certain qualifications. This is probably the most troubling change to our criminal justice system. Eliminating any accountability for accomplices and those who help facilitate the most heinous crimes is a dangerous and ridiculous step backward for victims. Certainly the Legislature, the Governor or Attorney General will not be around to explain this victimization to Californians.

Fortunately, there is a bit of good news. AB 931, which PORAC strenuously opposed and would have redefined how peace officers use force, was shelved for the session. We know it will be back next year. In fact, PORAC is using the time in between legislative sessions to work on a new strategy for next year. Without a doubt, killing this impending bill will again be job #1 for our advocates.

Like you, I am greatly concerned by the sustained attack on law enforcement by social justice groups in the name of habitual criminals. These groups have been aided by politicians who would claim to be our friends. Last time I checked, friends look out for one another, not be complicit in attacking them. PORAC won’t let this go unchallenged and, like I just mentioned, is re-evaluating our relationships and support for those elected representatives who can’t support us on this.

So, where do we go from here and what can we do?

First and foremost, hopefully you voted during the midterm elections to ensure that your voice is heard. Voting is fundamental to our country’s system of governance, and we should never take it for granted. This may sound trite, but it’s our obligation to vote. Our nation’s Founding Fathers fought fiercely for self-determination. Simply voting is the very least one can do to defend that right.

As association leaders, we need also to hold elected officials responsible for their actions and the promises they made. Collectively, PORAC leadership, you, me and all our members need to review these individuals’ positions on the aforementioned legislation. Where did they stand? What have they said about AB 931? The stakes are too high to not keep this in mind for the next time you go to the polls.

So I guess what I am saying is that now is not the time to be disengaged. Publicly and/or directly reach out to your representative lawmaker to make clear your views. It’s time to start identifying, contacting and developing prospective candidates for the next election cycle and laying out your positions. Attend your PORAC chapter meetings and make sure that your chapter director, president and local association leaders know where you stand and what you expect from the PORAC Board of Directors. Stay in communication with them often to guarantee that we continually and effectively represent you.

Thank you for your membership, have fun and stay safe!

Treasurer’s Message

Marcelo Blanco
PORAC Treasurer

As mentioned in a past article, PORAC fared well during an audit of our prior year’s financials. However, in a management letter, the auditor noted a few areas of concern, including segregation of duties and oversight of chapter funds. PORAC controller Kim Busman refers to the management letter as a report card of her ability to properly manage PORAC’s finances. The size of our organization makes it cost prohibitive for us to segregate duties because we would need a much larger accounting department.

However, we don’t take this issue lightly; as such, we have numerous checks and balances in place to ensure the organization is protected from being defrauded by one of our own. Those checks and balances include the regular review of our financials by the PORAC President, Vice President, Fiscal Management Committee, Budget Committee, Board of Directors and Treasurer. Interestingly enough, the auditing group did not mention segregation of duties. I believe Kim hammered them enough with the various safeguards listed above for them to realize we are not going to hire another accountant and there are plenty of measures in place to protect the organization from wrongdoing.

Consequently, the auditors were also concerned that PORAC wasn’t monitoring how chapters spend their reimbursement monies. Furthermore, the auditors noted that some chapters kept large balances of cash, which could increase PORAC’s risk of fraud. The issue was deferred to the Fiscal Management Committee to evaluate and come up with a possible solution. As such, Kim and I developed guidelines for how PORAC can better monitor our chapters’ general fund income and expenses and how those items are documented and reported to PORAC. The sticking point is the auditors view this as PORAC’s money. They have difficulty with PORAC relinquishing control of these sums of money to chapters to monitor, particularly large sums of money, of which PORAC has little oversight. We are asking each chapter to provide PORAC with copies of their bank statements to ensure the monies are being used to further PORAC’s direction in support of their members.

It’s important that chapter members and leaders use their reimbursement monies for the betterment of our members. For example, chapters should consider selecting an active small association to send to Conference or symposia to help develop the association’s leadership to better serve their members. Or chapters could cover the expenses of the chapter Executive Board to attend Conference or Symposium. Other options consist of practices many of you currently use, such as supporting member association fundraising events, socials, or — everyone’s favorite — golf tournaments.

For the most part, everyone is doing a great job with reporting expenses. We appreciate everyone’s diligence in completing the reporting form, which helps to provide us with additional information and justification for how your monies are being spent. Kim and I understand that chapter treasurers volunteer their time. We need to ensure that we address the concerns of the auditors and ensure we are not overly tasking our chapter treasurers with complex financial requirements. On the other hand, the chapter Executive Board and members should also be reviewing the chapter’s financials to ensure the chapter is spending its monies properly.

The last issue brought up was an insurance mechanism for our PIC/PAC monies. As we are all aware, PORAC has substantial funds in our PIC/PAC accounts. As such, the auditors were concerned those monies were not properly insured against loss. Kim and I, along with our PIC/PAC firm, are working on a solution for insuring those funds.

Once again, thank you for your efforts and I look forward to being able to provide you with an update at Conference and the chance to offer additional insight on the positive work your PORAC financial team is accomplishing.

Over the past several years, I have made a commitment to be your fiscal watchdog and I continue to stand by that. PORAC has made great financial strides during the past few years and we need to ensure that the organization continues to remain financially strong through prudent fiscal management and oversight. As a side note, our investments have grown substantially since Mark Sikorski and I began monitoring those funds. The funds have grown in excess of 122%, considering 25% of our funds are in fixed income.

Protecting PORAC’s mint financial footing.

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.

Vice President’s Message

Brent J. Meyer
PORAC Vice President

After 18 years, more than $60 million and the efforts of thousands of people — both private citizens and cops — the National Law Enforcement Museum is finally set to open its doors. I’m excited to join with other PORAC leaders in a trek to Washington, D.C., to attend the October 13 grand opening event and celebrate this important benchmark in the history of our profession and our association. The PORAC Board of Directors has staunchly supported the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and its project of creating the first-ever museum dedicated to American law enforcement. The long journey to make this vision a reality spanned the tenures of two PORAC presidents, Ron Cottingham and Mike Durant, and we proudly contributed $500,000 to the effort, earning PORAC a place on the museum’s donor wall as a partner at the “Guardians of Justice” sponsorship level.

Our solid commitment to this project reflects PORAC’s leadership role in the national law enforcement dialogue, as well as our support for our membership. It represents a tribute to the sacrifices of the nearly 20,000 California peace officers who have lost their lives in furthering the noble ideals of our profession, as well as an appreciation for the continuing contributions of our members who protect and serve their communities every day. This museum will stand as a monument to heroes of yesterday, today and tomorrow, preserving and sharing the real and often untold stories of how law enforcement has shaped our nation. Its goal is to bring people together to learn about the past, discuss present issues and, ultimately, better understand each other. That’s a cause that’s more important today than ever before, and it certainly merits our enthusiastic support.

Appropriately located directly across the street from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial wall, the 57,000-square-foot museum has a world-class collection of more than 20,000 artifacts that depict the role that American law enforcement has played in society, from historic events to pop culture. But it’s not just a static series of displays — it will provide an immersive and interactive experience of what it’s like to walk in the shoes of a law enforcement officer, through workshops, simulations, role-playing, firsthand real-life accounts, multimedia and educational programs. Visitors can use forensic science to crack a case, act the part of an emergency dispatcher, try an authentic training simulator, explore the day-to-day activities of law enforcement and more. Offering a variety of perspectives from virtually every aspect of law enforcement, the museum also tells the tale of how our profession has been transformed by technology, spanning from the Old West to today and from local to federal.

Last year, I had an opportunity to see the progress of this project and was overwhelmed by the scope of what it would become. I can hardly wait to see the finished result of so much hard work, passion and creativity. I hope all of you and your families will soon have the opportunity to travel to Washington and experience this wonderful tribute to our profession for yourselves. In the meantime, check out lawenforcementmuseum.org for a preview of its many features and exhibits.

Past President Mike Durant and I had the opportunity to participate in some of the video storytelling projects that will live in the museum for decades, and I am incredibly grateful to have been a part of something so historic. Furthermore, I’m beyond proud that PORAC was able to serve as a significant contributor to this landmark achievement. I want to publicly recognize and thank our many member associations who participated in the additional fundraisers held on the West Coast to help bring this project to its completion. We are humbled by the distinct honor that the National Law Enforcement Museum brings to all of law enforcement — those who shaped the profession in the past, those who have been taken from us too soon and those who serve today. Ultimately, we hope the museum leaves a lasting impression on all who visit, helping them recognize the positive role that peace officers play in our society and inspiring the next generation of law enforcement to join our ranks.

Treasurer’s Message

Marcelo Blanco
PORAC Treasurer

PORAC’s Budget Committee and financial team — Executive Committee Directors Barry Donelan, Randy Beintema, Anthony Sanders and Gary Moore, President Brian Marvel, Vice President Brent Meyer, Finance and Administrative Manager Kim Busman and I — have been busy through this budget cycle. The committee continued to focus on areas of the budget where we felt the organization could be more efficient. We have taken our fiduciary responsibility very seriously and are not afraid to ask tough questions or make adjustments to ensure the financial health of the organization. Our decisions are focused on doing what is best with your money. Therefore, some areas were targeted for potential cuts on the basis of whether PORAC is utilizing its money wisely and efficiently. We looked at areas where the budget could be streamlined, along with increasing efficiency and reducing potential unnecessary expenditures. This requires a paradigm shift away from the concept of “That is how we have always done it.”

“How we have always done it” could eventually become a costly venture for any organization. While PORAC is fiscally strong and can continue to sustain practices along the current lines, the real question should be “Why should we continue doing it that way, and is that based on best practices?” This year, the Committee took a serious look at items that are normally outside the overall budget and made a decision to bring them in-house. In doing so, we alleviated funds from other accounts, such as our PAC and PIC. This helps PORAC become a greater political powerhouse, especially in this post-Janus era.

Budget decisions are not evaluated in a vacuum, and those who are affected by them may feel that the changes are personal attacks. However, they are not made with ill will or for retribution, but rather to ensure that we are fulfilling our fiduciary responsibility for our members’ monies. If the organization can save a few hundreds or thousands of dollars by curtailing certain practices, we need to consider those changes. Over time, minor adjustments can add up to significant amounts that can be used to strengthen the organization’s financial footing or toward other projects. Nonetheless, it is important to keep the overall impact in mind and not just make budgetary changes because they save money.

On another note, remember that if you are on your POA or DSA’s board, you have a fiduciary responsibility to your members. Your members have elected you to keep their best interests in mind, especially when it comes to financial matters. If you fail in your responsibility, you are subject to legal ramifications. Please take your responsibility seriously, and make sure to review your POA or DSA’s financial statements, ask questions and ensure that there are checks and balances in place to avoid fraud and deception.

I am proud of the work being done by the Budget Committee and the rest of the PORAC financial team. Everyone is working diligently to ensure that PORAC is a force to be reckoned with, as well as protecting your money. I look forward to having the final draft of the 2019 budget for your review at Conference, along with the opportunity to provide you with additional insight on the positive work being accomplished by your PORAC financial team. I have made a commitment to being your “fiscal watchdog,” and I continue to stand by that commitment. PORAC has made great financial strides over the past several years, and we need to ensure that it continues to be financially strong through prudent fiscal management and oversight.

President’s Message

Brian Marvel
PORAC President

C.O.P.S. Grand Opening

Since 1984, C.O.P.S. has assisted surviving family members coping with the tragic loss of a loved one who died in the line of duty. Concerns of Police Survivors is a national organization that offers families resources, along with emotional, peer and financial support. It also provides training and helps law enforcement agencies deal with the loss of their friend and colleague.

C.O.P.S., whose membership is 47,000 survivors strong, recently celebrated the expansion and renovation of its headquarters in Camdenton, Missouri. I’m happy and honored that PORAC was part of it.

PORAC has always been a strong supporter of C.O.P.S. Before my presidency, we sponsored one of the conference rooms during the C.O.P.S. capital campaign to raise the funds for this project. In recognition of that, Vice President Brent Meyer, Past President Mike Durant and I were invited to the ribbon cutting and grand opening festivities in July.

We toured the building and met with the staff, many of whom are survivors themselves. In that sense, the staff members are living proof to newly grieving families that they are not alone, and that they, too, will get past the pain and rebuild their lives.

As we walked down the “Road to Hope,” we came upon the “Garden of Hope,” a courtyard area in the middle of the building. In the center of the garden, which was unveiled during the ceremony, was a sculpture of the “C.O.P.S. Family Tree.” This area is a peaceful place for survivors to reflect on their fallen officers and leave a message about what C.O.P.S. has meant to them.

C.O.P.S. did a fantastic job renovating and expanding their facility (See “C.O.P.S. Grand Opening” on page 16 for photos). I am thankful for all the support and work they do on behalf of our profession and especially for the survivors of our fallen. The increased space will allow them to provide even more training and help, so if you are ever in the area, you should stop by, say hi and check it out. To see more of what they are doing, go to nationalcops.org.

AB 931 Update

As I write my article for September, the last two weeks of the legislative session are in full swing. PORAC is working with several law enforcement groups throughout California to make sure that AB 931 doesn’t pass the Legislature. This proposal calls for changing the police use-of-force standard from “reasonable” to “necessary,” and only as a last resort.

We all know that in a life-or-death situation when decisions are made in split seconds, it’s not always possible to run through a mental checklist to be sure all options are exhausted before using force. This measure would make it harder for law enforcement to do their jobs and make it easier to prosecute officers.

As I have stated many times before, neither the two authors — Assembly Members Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) and Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) — nor the sponsor ever reached out to us when they drafted the bill. This is a shame because the front-line patrol officers will be the ones suffering the consequences of this poorly drafted legislation.

When the bill was originally drafted, the authors claimed there would be no cost to the State. I can only guess they were hoping to race it through the Senate before anyone caught on. It was recognized for what it was and sent to the Senate Appropriations Committee, where it went into the “suspense file.” This basically means a bill has a fiscal impact and has been set aside by the Appropriations Committee by a majority of members present and voting. These bills may be heard at a later hearing. On August 16, AB 931 was moved to the Rules Committee pending a decision to release it to the floor as is, with amendments, or to hold it. If it is held, it will most likely die for this session.

It should be noted that this bill will be costly if it passes. POST has said that it would run in the tens of millions of dollars or more to train and retrain officers throughout the State to this new standard. This doesn’t include any other agency’s costs, and it’s unknown what the collective costs would be.

Given that departments across the state are facing severe staffing shortages, increased overtime and stagnant budgets, the burden this bill would place on law enforcement would be onerous. Where will the funding come from? All I ever hear is how we need more and more training, yet POST continues to see their budget dwindle and not a word (or plan, for that matter) on bringing their budget back in line with the desires of so many elected officials.

AB 931 isn’t practical for a variety of reasons. PORAC and several other partner associations are taking the fight to the public to garner support. Sadly, an anti-police crowd has been elevated by the media to where they are dictating public-safety policy, not only in California but nationally.

Hopefully, I will have better news to report next month.

All the best.

Vice President’s Message

Brent J. Meyer
PORAC Vice President

Law Enforcement Needs to Engage Locally

Over a series of candid dinners with two dozen California legislators, several large law enforcement organizations and our advocates at Aaron Read & Associates, PORAC heard one constant refrain: Law enforcement needs to take the initiative and lead when it comes to engagement.

The dinners, the brainchild of Aaron Read and Assembly Member Evan Low, were held around Sacramento this summer to discuss the state of law enforcement in California, listen to attendees’ thoughts and gain their perspectives. I found the dinners — also attended by PORAC President Brian Marvel, the Los Angeles Police Protective League, Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs and California Association of Highway Patrolmen — informative and thought-provoking.

More law enforcement leaders need to be engaged in public discourse, both locally and on the state level, attendees agreed, adding that these representatives are really the only ones who can relate to what is going on in their communities. Not only that, we know the vast majority of the public supports law enforcement but waits to rally around us.

Clearly, the law enforcement landscape is changing, and the profession must change with it. We used to be able to count on the public and lawmakers for their vocal support. But the public is seemingly more swayed by the media these days, and lawmakers no longer seem to hold us up in such high regard anymore. We definitely can’t afford to take them at their word, because what they say and how they demonstrate their support is a growing divide.

It is easy to simply identify the problem, but what is the solution? You! As local law enforcement association leaders, you are in the best position to effect change.

How to implement that change, however, could be found in a variety of solutions. Drawing from my decade of leadership experience (five years at PORAC and five years at Sacramento POA), I’d like to offer my thoughts:

Identify the Up-and-Coming Leaders in Your “Sandbox”

The political “sandbox” is made up of all these folks (city council, board of supervisors, school board, Assembly, Senate districts, etc.) who aspire to represent your members’ families and issues when it comes to lawmaking. Certainly, you want to begin the relationship by getting in at the ground level. You just never know when one might make it to the big league! And by putting in the effort early and consistently nurturing it, you will begin to build the trust needed to get what you want in the future.

Attend meetings and pay attention. You should be going to your city council, board of supervisors, school district board meetings anyway, if they control your livelihood. If not, start by familiarizing yourself with their sandbox, identify what is important to them and see what you may be able to do to help. Knowing what is important to them is also paramount to getting what you want in the future. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, and use interaction with your membership to educate them:

  • Take them on tours of your facility. (Your chief will probably also want a piece of this action, but don’t allow them to be escorted around without you.)
  • Take them on ride-alongs, or connect them with members who exemplify the best of your association through their work at the agency.
  • Sit in the communications center with them. It’s critical that they see the process and full picture of the work you do. Explain to them what your dispatchers do to get a sense of how a 9-1-1 call becomes a call for service, the actual response time, and how the job gets resolved. Many of your representatives really believe that the television show Law & Order is an accurate reflection of how quickly police work gets done. And we know it’s not!

Have Honest and Direct Discussions

  • Meet for coffee once a month at a location that’s neither your office nor theirs.
  • Introduce them to your association’s leadership and PORAC chapter. Explain what you, as well as PORAC, can do for them on the state level.
  • Demonstrate what you can do for them and articulate directly what they could do for you. Quid pro quo is inappropriate and can be unlawful if you’re talking contract negotiations, so never trade one thing for another.
  • Back them up when they help you out. Support them publicly with statements or, more prominently, on social media. Call them out when needed, but do so publicly, professionally and factually.
  • Don’t shy away from the tough conversations or shut them down when the issues are difficult. This is when the strongest relationships are made! But don’t let them run roughshod over you, disrespect your association or membership, or embellish the facts. Hold them accountable so that the public and your members see that you’re paying attention.

Remember, It’s Not Personal

It’s business (or politics). Don’t make it that way by spiking the ball or taking unnecessary personal shots. This is a tough game, and you can’t have thin skin if you want to play it.

These are just a few key recommendations to get you started. They may or may not be suitable for your association, as we all have different local circumstances that we have to live with today, of course. Being successful depends on your situation and, more importantly, how you respond to what is going on and changing around you.

Just as with the use-of-force continuum, you have to adapt to the environment you’re in, playing to your strengths, capabilities and available resources. Never is it more important than now that we step up and guide public discourse to improve relations and maintain the positive and professional image of law enforcement.

Let’s take stock in what we’ve learned from these law enforcement caucus dinners and lead!

Thank you for your membership, have fun, and stay safe!

Treasurer’s Message

Marcelo Blanco
PORAC Treasurer

Gearing Up for Conference

Last year’s audit is now completed and PORAC fared well. We had the usual challenges, which the auditors delineated to the Board of Directors. The concerns were discussed and the Board understands the reason for these challenges. In addition, I was provided with direction to resolve those issues within our sphere of influence.

The budget committee met and finalized the proposed 2019 budget. The budget was presented to the Board of Directors in August. The next phase is to have you and the rest of our members review the budget at the Conference of Members.

As part of the budget and compensation process, the Budget/Compensation Committee reviewed the proposal submitted by Finance and Administrative Manager Kim Busman. The proposal used a list of salaries for similar positions within the Sacramento area. The committee moved forward with some salary adjustments. In addition, we looked at creating new positions within the office so as to become more responsive to our members and to bring PORAC’s message to everyone on a consistent and timely basis. During the Conference of Members, we will discuss the changes occurring within the office operations. These changes will enhance our services to members and continue to make PORAC a strong voice and force within and outside our state.

Our investment tsar, Mark Sikorski, presented the market outlook to the Board of Directors. Based on how the market has performed this year, his assessment of what is going to happen was clear as mud. Keep in mind the market has done some interesting things this year. Ultimately, the feeling in the financial world is that we are looking at an adjustment and/or correction in the market. However, the geniuses believe the market could reach record highs at year’s end.

Please attend your local chapter meetings and keep yourself informed as to what is occurring within your city, county and state, especially in the “anti-police” environment we find ourselves today. It seems there are many people out there who profess to know how to do our job without ever having donned a uniform. Yet those who condemn us are also the first to expect our help when things go sideways for them. Quite a bit of information is being disseminated about AB 931 and what our members can do to help. This legislation is an all-out assault on how we protect our communities and ourselves. Please visit the PORAC website or contact your local chapter director to find out how you can help defeat this ill-intentioned legislation.

I look forward to seeing everyone at the Conference of Members in Reno and providing you with the opportunity to review your 2019 PORAC budget as well as addressing any financial questions, suggestions or comments you may have about PORAC’s financial health.

Be safe and have fun.

President’s Message

Brian Marvel
PORAC President

As all of you have hopefully heard by now, on June 27 the U.S. Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in the case of Janus v. AFSCME. It overturned 41 years of established case law by declaring the collection of “fair-share” or “agency shop” fees by public employee unions to be unconstitutional under the First Amendment. This means that nonmembers can no longer be required to cover the costs of collective bargaining, managing grievances and other nonpolitical functions that unions undertake on behalf of all employees regardless of membership status. The court essentially said that all union activity is inherently political, and that requiring employees to “subsidize” it infringes on their free speech even when they also reap the benefits of their bargaining unit’s hard work.

Anti-union organizations are already gearing up an aggressive campaign to persuade public employees to leave their unions. Even though labor and supportive legislators in states like California have expected and prepared for this decision, it undoubtedly will become harder for public-sector unions to keep their heads above water as the next tidal wave of attacks on our rights and benefits rolls in.

What does this mean for PORAC members? I want to be clear that Janus does not change the well-established principles of PORAC and PORAC LDF membership: Member benefits, including legal defense coverage, are available only to individuals who maintain full membership in an association affiliated with PORAC. PORAC has the greatest lineup of attorneys, and they work exclusively for PORAC-affiliated associations. Vice President Brent Meyer details the many important benefits of membership in his message on the next page. I will add that for over 64 years, PORAC has been the most respected voice and largest collection of interests for peace officers in California. We are resolute and dedicated in protecting you and what you are trying to build for your family in the face of an increasingly challenging job that continues to grow more dangerous. PORAC is focused on building solidarity among police officers, sheriff’s deputies, correctional officers, probation officers and public safety personnel to create a common voice of advocacy on your behalf. This core commitment to bringing and keeping people together is the foundation of what PORAC represents.

Now, our united voice is more important than ever before. As I said to Corporate Counsel Bob Bonsall in our recent On the Job With PORAC podcast episode on Janus (which I encourage you to listen to for further background and analysis), I believe that this Supreme Court ruling was purely ideological, designed to undermine organized labor. After the decision was announced, PORAC issued a statement calling it what it was: the continuation of the war against both labor unions and law enforcement in this country. We already know that law enforcement is under attack, and a new pension fight looms as well. Shoulder to shoulder, we must defend our profession, our livelihoods and our very lives.

It is vitally important for all of you to continue your membership in your respective associations and maintain your associations’ membership in PORAC, so that we can keep strengthening our Legal Defense Fund, our Insurance & Benefits program, our political advocacy, and our partnerships with our fellow law enforcement organizations and labor groups. Your being a member of your association makes it stronger, and your association’s membership in PORAC makes us stronger. With your ongoing support and involvement, our organization will stand firm and steadfast for you in Sacramento and D.C. Our opponents may think they can break us, but we will prove them wrong. In times of greatest adversity, peace officers always seem to rise to the occasion and exceed expectations; this will be no different.

Connecting with our members is our highest priority, and communication is crucial in forming the powerful coalition we need to face the battle ahead. That’s why, on a happier note, I am pleased to announce that the PORAC app has won the 2018 APEX Award for Publication Excellence! This annual honor is bestowed on professional print and electronic media that demonstrate overall communications effectiveness. In partnership with our publishing team at 911MEDIA, we’ve worked hard to create a user-friendly app that allows members to access all the information they need, and we’re proud to see our efforts recognized. If you haven’t downloaded and used this award-winning tool yet, now’s the time to see what it’s all about at PORAC.org/porac-mobile-app.

As always, stay safe, and my deepest thanks for your membership and support.