President’s Message

Brian R. Marvel
PORAC President

Normally, in even-numbered years, the stroke of midnight on August 31 ends the two-year session of our State Legislature. This year, as the evening got closer to midnight, I became more and more anxious for this session to end. When midnight passed and they were still working, it was quite nerve-wracking. The final gavel struck at around 1:30 a.m. on September 1.

PORAC monitors and takes positions on a wide variety of bills related to public safety, retirement and pensions, and this session was no different from what we have seen in the past — until the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Seeing all the hate and discontent being hurled at law enforcement, the ACLU, along with some elected officials, wasted no time in getting pen to paper. We have all heard the saying “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” They took that to heart and tried to hit a grand slam in this COVID-19-truncated end of session. PORAC usually has a top five list of high-priority bills, but that changed pretty much overnight. It became a top 25-plus list. Of that list, 21 bills were gut-and-amends. Our usual end-of-session workload increased fivefold within days. Fortunately for us, we have amazing advocates working for PORAC, and we came together as a profession to fight the good fight.

As the bills crossed the desk to work their way through the abbreviated legislative process, we reviewed them and reached out to the authors, which we always do. Very few, if any, bills end the way they were submitted. Several authors of these bills were not interested in meeting with PORAC or other law enforcement professionals who would be impacted by them. They felt, due to the national dialogue around police reform, they would be able to run these measures through, irrespective of resistance and without any common-sense amendments. Our profession truly had to come together and fight hard to make sure our voices were heard and let our elected leaders know the detrimental effects some of these bills would have on public safety and our working conditions. As is always true in politics, you win some and you lose some. Overall, I think we were very successful in fighting back legislation that was ill-thought-out and unworkable, and would have jeopardized the lives and safety of peace officers throughout California.

When you have elected officials refusing to meet and confer on changes to a profession, that should throw up a red flag immediately! The good news is that the most detrimental pieces of legislation died in committee or on the legislative floor. Among these was SB 731 by Senator Steven Bradford. With last year’s collaborative approach to SB 230 and AB 392, PORAC clearly showed elected officials that we are more than willing to come to the table for dialogue about changes to our profession, but Senator Bradford was unwilling to meet and confer. His bill would have created a decertification protocol, along with eliminating qualified immunity. It wasn’t until about 10 days prior to the end of session, when the senator realized his bill was on shaky ground, that he halfheartedly attempted to reach out and have discussions, which I’m sure his sponsors, the ACLU, wanted no part of. Thankfully, SB 731 never made it off the floor. What is striking about his bill is that no other profession in the United States with a licensing process is subject to a commission where two-thirds of its members have a built in explicit or implicit bias against the person trying to keep their license.

One bill of note that did make it to the governor’s desk and was enrolled was AB 1506 by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty. His bill would create a division within the Department of Justice to review and make recommendations on agency use-of-force policies upon request. It would also require a state prosecutor to investigate incidents of an officer-involved shooting resulting in the death of an unarmed civilian. Assemblyman McCarty did reach out to us initially, and we expressed our concerns. We were neutral on the measure as it was originally introduced, waiting for Attorney General Becerra to weigh in. Then the assemblymember tried to take advantage of the national discourse. He amended his bill with this language: “…and would require the state prosecutor to conduct an investigation upon request from a local law enforcement agency, district attorney, city council, or county or city and county board of supervisors, on an incident involving the use of force by a peace officer that resulted in the death of a civilian.” You can see the political conundrum this creates. This would turn what should be a factual process into a political tool that can be wielded by activist politicians — which is ultimately his goal and, unfortunately, the goal of a lot of elected officials throughout California.

The six weeks leading up to August 31 were some of the longest and hardest of my three years as president of PORAC. I want to thank Randy Perry, Aaron Read and Michele Cervone of Aaron Read & Associates (ARA) for the incredible work they did on behalf of PORAC and our members. As I’ve stated many times before, I do not believe there are any other advocates in California equal to them. We should be extremely grateful that we have ARA on our side. I also would like to thank the Board of Directors, chapter presidents and PORAC affiliate SEBA for the immense amount of work they contributed to this effort. As I stated earlier, our profession came together, and I want to thank the non-PORAC-affiliated groups who worked just as tirelessly as we did, such as the CAHP, ALADS, PPOA, Cal Chiefs and the associations affiliated with the Fraternal Order of Police, among others.

We will continue to fight for and support our members in Sacramento and in Washington, D.C., especially when it comes to keeping our communities we serve and our members safe. I always say that as peace officers, we hate status quo and we hate change, but our profession is constantly moving forward and improving. Just in the 20 years I have been on the job, I have seen progress in technology, use-of-force policies, training and research. We also need to recognize that as police professionals, we must be guided by what our community wants its police departments to look like. With that said, our position has always been that we need to be consulted and have a seat at the table to negotiate what those changes will be and how they are implemented, and I do not believe that expectation is too much to ask from our elected leaders. Although we had some great success this year, I anticipate the next two years will be just as difficult, if not more so, regarding police reform bills. Lastly, if you live in L.A. County or know someone who does, please reach out and make sure they vote for L.A. DA Jackie Lacey. This is one of the most important races in the state of California.

I hope you have a happy and safe Halloween, in whatever form it takes this year.

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.

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. 

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.

President’s Message

Brian R. Marvel
PORAC President

PORAC was founded in 1953 when less than three dozen California peace officers formed a special association, collectively motivated to professionalize our occupation, with service at the core. One of the earliest successes was the development and implementation into law of the first “peace officers standards setting” agency, now POST, which was eventually followed by the rest of the nation. On that foundation, we built strength to increase our rights and benefits as peace officers. We began to have greater self-determination and autonomy from city and county administrators, along with police management. We have met some of the toughest times — recessions, natural disasters, legislation and now, a global pandemic — head-on. I am proud to be at the helm and strive every day to continue our legacy of exceptional service and professionalism.

My joke about 2020 is, how could it not see COVID-19 coming? The reality is, no one could have predicted this year’s crisis, its effect on the economy or the impact it will have on our respective agencies. Will things get turned around quickly, or will it take years? What challenges do you face in your day-to-day living, family and financial concerns, retirement, and pension issues? Amid the uncertainty, PORAC is here to support our affiliates and their members. Check out our COVID-19 landing page at PORAC.org. It has a variety of important resources, a list of our priorities, articles about how your voice is heard in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., information about the free Hazardous Exposure Listing Program (H.E.L.P.) and our special On the Job With PORAC podcast, to name a few. If you have not seen it, visit our website and click on “Policing in a Pandemic.”

PORAC’s strength is anchored by your loyalty, the commitment of our three trusts — IBT, RMT and LDF — all of our employees and the consistent stewardship of the organization’s financial resources. I want PORAC to provide the best possible benefits at the lowest possible cost to our members. I believe we have the best legal, retiree and insurance trusts in the nation. They are all on a solid financial footing and have an excellent infrastructure to serve us well into the future. PORAC really is the platinum choice. As of this year, our Retiree Medical Trust will be open to all 50 states. If you do not have retiree health benefits, you should have your association reach out as soon as possible — it is an incredible benefit. The money goes in pre-tax, income earned is tax-free and you are reimbursed tax-free for covered medical expenses and health insurance premiums. It’s hard to beat that!

The state Assembly reconvened from spring recess on May 4 and our state senators on May 11. The Assembly wasted no time in amending and moving bills through its respective committees. Damon Kurtz, Randy Perry, Aaron Read, Michele Cervone and I worked through 21 pages of bills set for the Assembly (anti-)Public Safety Committee Hearing that occurred on May 19. One of the bills I would like to discuss is AB 1945 by Assemblymember Salas. This bill will bring dispatchers under the fold of first responders. When it was initially introduced, it had language that would have included non-dispatchers and private contractors. This was unacceptable to PORAC. We immediately reached out to Assemblymember Salas and his office to express our concerns. In the meantime, we had to take an active oppose position. I want to thank folks who did reach out and ask for an explanation of why we opposed AB 1945. Since then, we have worked with Salas’ office, submitted amendments and have taken a neutral position. We anticipate discussing this more at our full board meeting on June 15. Please visit our website to view more of our state and federal advocacy programs.

As the state and nation slowly open back up, PORAC’s promise to provide first-class benefits with outstanding service continues to drive us forward. We will be there for you during the pandemic and well after it ends while ensuring the enduring strength of our organization. Fulfilling our mission statement in these times matters more than ever. Thank you for placing your trust in PORAC and the work we are doing for you in California, the State Capitol and Washington, D.C.

Stay safe.

President’s Message

Brian R. Marvel
PORAC President

Traditionally, May is the time of the year when the law enforcement family from across the country comes together to honor all the officers who made the ultimate sacrifice in service of their communities. It is a month marked by hundreds of solemn yet heartfelt ceremonies, including national observances on Peace Officers Memorial Day and throughout Police Week. However, the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has turned our world upside down. Along with school and business closures, events of all kinds are being canceled, and sadly included among them are peace officer memorial ceremonies.

Although the state and national memorials have been canceled, on May 13 the National Law Enforcement Memorial and Museum is planning to hold a virtual Candlelight Vigil and reading of the names that will be added to the memorial this year (visit nleomf.org for more information). The California Peace Officers’ Memorial Foundation (CPOMF) leadership and the board have decided to honor both the 2019 and 2020 fallen in May 2021. This was by no means an easy decision, but under the circumstances, it was the right course of action to take for everybody’s safety.

Despite this development, we believe it is important to make sure that we still recognize and memorialize our fallen officers and deputies. That is why PORAC is dedicating this issue of the magazine to the California officers — five who made the ultimate sacrifice in 2019 and two from the distant past — who were to be honored in public ceremonies in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. Our goal is to create a commemorative issue in remembrance of Sergeant Steve Licon, Deputy Brian Ishmael, Officers Natalie Corona, Toshio Hirai, Andre Moye Jr. and Tara O’Sullivan, and Correctional Officer Armando Gallegos Jr. We want to acknowledge the sacrifices they made on behalf of their respective agencies and communities, and most importantly, we want their families to know that they are still in our thoughts and prayers and that they won’t be forgotten this year, next year and years into the future.

Hopefully with this small tribute to their sacrifice and memory, on May 4 at 10:30 a.m., we can all take a moment of silence to memorialize them. Please visit our social media sites on that date and time for a tribute video in their honor.

Since our last issue, PORAC has been working extremely hard on making sure that first responders have an adequate supply of personal protective equipment (PPE). I have fielded numerous calls from Board directors, chapter presidents and individual members asking for more PPE. We worked diligently to find suppliers who had PPE on hand and were willing to sell it to first responders. We also pressed the Governor’s Office and legislators about placing first responders on a high-priority list to receive PPE and ensuring that there was an adequate supply coming in on a regular basis. We experienced some success in certain areas, but unfortunately, at the time of this writing, we have been unable to confirm whether all the agencies in need were adequately supplied.

On top of that, we have been pushing for expedited testing for first responders who are showing symptoms or have encountered individuals infected with the coronavirus. First responders encounter the most vulnerable populations in our society each day. Because of this, and since many health experts have reported that a high percentage of people are infected yet asymptomatic, we feel that it is important that there is adequate testing for all first responders. The state should have stepped up and made first responder-only testing sites a priority, like what we saw in Washington state. Sadly, it befell association leaders to facilitate this. Even as I write this, test kits are still not readily available, and California ranks 48th in the nation per capita on testing. It seems every path we try to get the testing sites as a priority, we receive pushback, or it ultimately leads to a dead end. Despite all the hurdles, we are remaining steadfast in our efforts to ensure first responders are not left out of our elected officials’ responses to the pandemic.

As we work behind the scenes to help create safe and protected working conditions, we are also keeping members informed with an array of COVID-19 resources available on our website (PORAC.org/covid19), social media, podcasts and e-newsletters. Also, in this issue, you will find an in-depth article on the various benefits and protections available to law enforcement (see page 20). Even though COVID-19 has not yet been recognized as a workers’ compensation presumption, rest assured that there are ways for you to take care of yourself and your family should the need arise.

Stay safe and healthy.

President’s Message

Brian R. Marvel
PORAC President

I want to start by thanking you for being a valued member of PORAC during these uncertain times. I know everyone is working hard to keep their communities safe while also keeping themselves and their families healthy. Although the PORAC office is closed, we are working very hard on the state and federal level to make sure the working conditions and safety of all first responders and public safety officers are not left out of the equation as elected officials react to the coronavirus pandemic. Here are the top priorities we are working on:

  • Requesting personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Priority testing for first responders
  • Making COVID-19 a workers’ compensation presumption
  • Major funding for equipment, personnel, compensation and other costs associated with COVID-19
  • When a vaccine becomes available, first responders are a priority

With these goals in mind, we reached out to the offices of the Governor, Senate Pro Tem and Speaker, asking for immediate assistance. Vice President Kurtz, the Executive Committee and I held several tele-townhall meetings broken up by region for all our statewide and federal elected officials. We stressed the importance of PPE and testing. Seattle and Chicago created first responder testing sites, which have been a huge success. They are easily replicable and there’s no reason why California can’t do it too. Longer-term priorities include making sure COVID-19 is a presumption under workers’ comp and including first responders among the highest priorities to receive a vaccine if a protocol is approved by the FDA. We’ve asked our advocates in Washington, D.C., to make the same requests of our elected leaders at the federal level. Rest assured that PORAC will make the workers’ comp issue one of our top concerns in the coming weeks or months. As of this writing, the State Legislature is in recess until at least April 13, but lawmakers are still working remotely. During this time, we will continue to lobby to make COVID-19 a presumption. Due to the projected infection rate, we believe it’s vitally important to make sure this is covered. Check out our website for all the letters that were sent.

As we deal with this unprecedented pandemic as labor leaders, we need to make sure that we’re addressing our collective bargaining issues within our respective jurisdictions. The highest priorities should be securing adequate safety equipment and establishing agreements regarding paid administrative leave for first responders who are forced to stay home from work. There should be presumptive sick leave usage without medical verification due to illness, and if the employee is able to prove that it was COVID-19 they should qualify for paid administrative leave. You need to be very cognizant of shift and vacation schedules and how your departments will handle those. Some other options to look at are waiving leave accrual caps and waiving copays and out-of-pocket expenses associated with COVID-19. These are just a few of the items that your collective bargaining units need to be advocating for.

Labor leaders should be actively working with their mayors, county supervisors and human resources departments to ensure that they get either written agreements or tentative verbal agreements that can later be codified in writing. Make sure that your union leaders aren’t forgoing their meet-and-confer rights because of the declared emergency — now more than ever, it is important to stress and exercise those rights. As labor leaders, we have to demand the facts, including the source of the information that the city, county or state is relying on. If there are going to be unilateral changes within your agency, your government must articulate why these changes are necessary. Please utilize your law firm’s expertise in this area. We have the best attorneys in the nation working for PORAC associations.

It’s become abundantly clear that agencies are canceling leave and training. What’s being closed and modified changes hour by hour, so as first responders we need to make sure that we’re using all of the training we’ve received in regard to washing our hands, using hand sanitizer, using face masks as appropriate and protecting ourselves when dealing with the public in the course of our duties. Better to be overprepared in contacting someone who may have COVID-19 than to be underprepared. No one wants to infect our colleagues or family, and your community is counting on you. It is during such times that we always rise to the occasion and exceed expectations.

As we are asking you to be cautious at work, we are taking the same precautions with our events, as well. As you may have heard by now, PORAC has made the decision to cancel April’s IMPACT 2020 Symposium and POREF Open Golf Tournament. While it was a difficult choice to make, it was the right one. We know this is the best course of action to protect the health of our members, presenters, guests, staff and their families. In case you haven’t heard, with deep sadness, the California Peace Officers’ Memorial Ceremony in May has been canceled due to issues outside CPOMF’s control. Although we won’t be able to honor our fallen officers in the traditional way, we want to make sure the family members of the fallen are not forgotten. They need to know that we are here for them and will support them. They may not receive formal recognition this May, but I know the CPOMF board will do everything in their power to make sure we do something to pay tribute to the fallen, either later this year or at the 2021 event. In addition, I have been informed that the national memorial, Police Week, has also been canceled. However, they plan on having a virtual candlelight vigil on Wednesday, May 13, to read the names of the fallen who were to be enrolled on the wall this year. You can watch this from anywhere in the world. Please go to nleomf.org for additional information.

As we all face new and escalating dangers in the course of our duties, I want to remind you of PORAC’s Hazardous Exposure Listing Program (HELP). This is a free tool for all PORAC members, and there is no better time than now to create an account and start documenting any exposures you’ve had that are hazardous to your health. I know we all have reporting systems in our own respective agencies, but this is a private, confidential system that you control to track your own exposures, just in case your agency loses or forgets about them. Learn more and get started today at PORAC.org/resources/hazardous-exposure-listing-program.

Please be sure to follow PORAC’s social media platforms, where we’ll continue to put out up-to-the-minute information as soon as we receive and verify it. Please send any COVID-19 information about your agency or members doing great work to COVID19@porac.org. Stay safe and healthy.  

PORAC COVID-19 Resource Page

President’s Message

Brian R. Marvel
PORAC President

Spring is here, and for many, that means it’s time to organize, declutter and deep-clean your home. In addition to freshening up your living space, spring cleaning is a great opportunity to review important financial planning documents that may not always be at the forefront of your mind, such as your insurance and benefits.

As we progress through our careers with our respective agencies, we sometimes set our insurance and benefits on autopilot, only making sure we have coverage during annual enrollment. We routinely renew our policies year after year, without giving thought to whether we have the appropriate coverage at the most favorable cost. As you know, disaster can strike at any time from many different sources — this includes dying on duty or off. Now is a great time to review those policies, especially your life insurance.

Ask yourself: Is your coverage current and adequate? Will you and your family be taken care of? Do you have all the types of coverage you need? Work with a knowledgeable insurance agent to review your needs and make any necessary adjustments to your current plan. PORAC offers some incredible insurance options through the Insurance and Benefits Trust (IBT). Visit ibtofporac.org and see what we have to offer, and for more information about how IBT serves the membership, check out our Trust profile on page 20. In addition to making sure you’re covered, one of the most important things you need to ensure is that your beneficiary information is up to date. Please, please make sure this information is current and correct. You don’t want your money going to unintended individuals. Sadly, this happens more than you think.

Unfortunately, sometimes, even with careful planning, the unexpected on-the-job injury, fatal accident or line-of-duty death can leave you or your family in need of more assistance than anticipated. In those cases, many often get help from law enforcement members and the community at large, who step up to assist officers or their families by opening up their wallets and contributing what they can to help them get back on their feet. Over the years, I, like you and many of our members, have given to those in need by establishing and donating to online fundraising campaigns on crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe.

Seeing the contributions many of our associations were making to these campaigns was the impetus behind the creation of PORAC’s Fund a Hero — an in-house fundraising platform for law enforcement, by law enforcement. As you may be aware, Fund a Hero is free to the membership and, unlike other online crowdfunding platforms, has no costly fees associated with launching a campaign. PORAC makes no profit from the fundraisers, meaning that 100% of the proceeds go directly to the officer or family. Also, each campaign is verified by PORAC, so members are protected from donating to fake campaigns, and most importantly, we do not share or sell your information to anyone.

Since its inception last year, we are proud to report that Fund a Hero has hosted numerous successful campaigns that have provided tremendous support to those in need — over $100,000 in donations have gone to survivors of a line-of-duty death, relief funds for families going through medical emergencies and much more. As of this writing, we have a handful of active campaigns on our website, including the recently launched fundraiser for the family of Oxnard Police Officer Nathan Martin, who was tragically killed in a traffic collision while off duty on January 29. We encourage you to contribute to this and all the other worthy causes on our website at PORAC.org/fund-a-hero. I want to thank our members who have helped these campaigns grow; your support has meant the world to officers and their families across the state.

In an effort to keep the momentum going on current campaigns and to ensure the success of future ones, PORAC is in the process of developing resources that will help members maximize the results of their fundraisers. One of those resources will be a promotional packet that will include a checklist of things to do to make sure your campaign is successful; it’ll cover how to promote your fundraiser on social media, how to get the word out to the media and much more. Keep a lookout for this helpful guide in the near future. As with all the campaigns we are promoting, it is important that we share them on our social media platforms; it’s free and expands our reach. Every little bit helps.

Also, a friendly reminder that Symposium and the inaugural POREF Open Golf Tournament are just one month away. If you haven’t already done so, please register online at PORAC.org/events/Symposium. We hope you will join us for these two exciting events — two days of great training and updates, followed by a day spent with friends and colleagues benefiting a worthy cause.

Last but certainly not least, we have dedicated this issue of the magazine to all female officers across the country in honor of National Women’s History Month. Women in law enforcement are breaking barriers while also working hard each day to protect and serve our communities. The women in our ranks deserve to be recognized this month and every month for their invaluable contributions to our profession. Please join us in saluting our sisters in blue.

President’s Message

Brian R. Marvel
PORAC President

Last month, the cover of this magazine said, “Resolve to get involved,” and that’s going to continue to be our motto for this entire year. I probably sound like a broken record, but I want to once again remind you how important it is to be actively engaged, not only in your association but in what’s happening at the state and national levels. I can’t stress that enough, especially as this is a presidential election year. We need to let our elected leaders know that we’re paying attention to the legislation being passed in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. — or the lack thereof, in the latter! There are plenty of obstacles in our path. We can’t allow ourselves to become one of them. The strength and expertise of PORAC mean that when legislation relates to public safety and law enforcement, we are often called upon to discuss our point of view, craft language or provide amendments that improve public safety but don’t jeopardize the safety and working conditions of our members. On the flip side, we occasionally see and will continue to see, certain elected officials who have an agenda to appease a vocal minority and don’t want to work with us on legislation. Sometimes, they will claim to have spoken with us when they haven’t. As we continue to stress the importance of having PORAC at the table, your voice and activism will make certain that every legislator understands we can’t be ignored.

When we can demonstrate that our more than 75,000 members are all closely monitoring their actions, promoting our positions loud and clear, and voting accordingly, we send a message to our elected officials that we stand united as a force to be reckoned with — which allows us to be even more effective in our efforts in both Sacramento and Washington.

Already, as we continue to expand our footprint in our nation’s capital, we’re increasingly being asked to step up and provide our insight on what is happening in California. We have plenty of firsthand expertise on the damage done by measures like Prop 47, Prop 57 and AB 109, and our testimonials can help to ensure that the federal government
doesn’t make the same mistakes our state is making when it comes to public safety.

Our expertise will be needed at the state level as well because we recently learned that California has formed a committee to look at revising the Penal Code. We don’t have many details yet, but I want to make sure this is on your radar, because any cop knows that change to the Penal Code are likely to have a significant impact on our jobs. Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, it appears that none of the members of this new committee have any meaningful prosecutorial or victims’ rights background, which is very disconcerting. Over the last several years, it has increasingly appeared that victims of crime just get lip service from the state, whereas criminals are practically placed on a pedestal. Since we don’t have a seat on the committee, hopefully, we can at least provide letters and testimony conveying our input on penal code revisions that may be detrimental to public safety as well as the members of our profession.

If you’re committed to growing your engagement with PORAC in 2020, attending our annual Symposium April 21–23 in Indian Wells is a great step in the right direction. We have a fantastic lineup of speakers this year who will provide crucial information on the issues that directly affect all of us. One I’d particularly like to highlight is Shelby Chodos, a professor at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, whose presentation is entitled “Out of the Recession Into the Future.” He has an incredible ability to take very complicated financial subjects and make them much more easily understood. The nation’s economy has been growing for the last 11 years, which surpasses the 10-year expansion from 1991 to 2001. As a lot of associations begin to start contract negotiations, he will provide insight on the path ahead.

I also want to strongly encourage you to participate in our inaugural POREF Open Golf Tournament following Symposium. It’s vitally important that we continue to fundraise for our Peace Officers Relief & Education Fund, which not only helps our members with direct cash contributions during extreme hardships, but also assists our family members via scholarships — it’s cops taking care of cops, and I can’t think of a much worthier cause than that. Even if you can’t attend the full Symposium, please try to support the golf tournament in any capacity you can, so we can get this exciting new event off to a strong start.

As we observed Martin Luther King Jr. Day a few days before I sat down to write this, I was struck by a quote making the rounds on social media. Frequently attributed to Dr. King but actually a paraphrase of a statement he made in one of his speeches, it says, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” This is such a powerful idea, and it is quite literally true for those of us who risk our lives in the service of others. No matter what challenges lie ahead, please join with PORAC in continuing to speak out about what matters.

President’s Message

Brian R. Marvel
PORAC President

Happy new year! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and were able to spend quality time with your loved ones. Beyond the festivities, the holidays are an opportunity to reflect on what you’re most thankful for, including family, friends and colleagues. It’s also a time to reflect on the realities of our profession. For many law enforcement personnel, the holidays are like any other day of the year. We sacrifice spending time with our loved ones so that the members in our community can have peace of mind while celebrating with theirs. In fact, we spend a lot of time away from our families year-round, missing birthdays, sporting events and other milestones because of our sworn duty to protect others. I would like to recognize all the officers who worked during the holidays to keep us safe and extend thanks to those in our communities who are supportive of the many sacrifices made by law enforcement.

We should also be thankful for our Legal Defense Fund attorneys who work relentlessly to represent our members with the utmost skill and professionalism. We arguably have the best and most qualified attorneys in the nation, who make sure the due process rights of our officers are protected. In addition, I would like to thank our vendors, who year after year help make our Conferences, Symposiums, fundraisers and other events possible. We would not be successful without them. These companies and organizations donate their time and money in support of our efforts, which make it all possible.

I would be remiss not to extend our gratitude to the elected officials in both Sacramento and Washington, D.C., who are supporters of PORAC and the law enforcement community in the state and across the nation. Sometimes, these individuals don’t receive the recognition they deserve. We have many friends in our State Legislature and on Capitol Hill who are dedicated to helping us keep our communities safe, although you wouldn’t know that if you relied solely on the media.

In addition to being a time for reflection, the holidays and the start of the new year are a time to look ahead. In 2020, the focus for PORAC will be getting more folks involved and moving forward together as a group. As you know, the last two years were difficult for us legislatively, and with this being a critical election year and the second year of the Legislative session, it looks like we’ll have even more work cut out for us. January will be an exceptionally busy month as over 1,000 bills will be introduced or bills that didn’t make it out last year will be gutted, amended and reintroduced. And if last year is an indication of what the future holds, brace yourself. As the makeup of our State Legislature is a cause for concern, it is not insurmountable. I have always believed rational people who put the work in during negotiations ultimately succeed. PORAC has shown year after year that we bring rational, well-thought-out ideas and proposals to the table, hence the success we see at the Capitol.

Because of the super-supermajority, we’re going to have to rely on more of our members to stand up and make their voices heard in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. We have to let our legislators know that our more than 75,000 members are active and engaged on the issues that are affecting our profession. They need to know you are listening, watching and, most importantly, voting. For those of you who have been publicly pounding the pavement and voicing PORAC’s position on issues, we are thankful for your willingness to do so. You’re not always recognized, but we see and appreciate you.

While we’re thankful for all the things we’ve gotten in 2019, we clearly need to continue to organize our members, educate everyone we come in contact with and constantly advocate for our positions. I hope you’re reinvigorated and ready to tackle the new year together.