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.

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.

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.

President’s Message

Brian Marvel
PORAC President

Back in March, I wrote about how one of my primary goals as PORAC president is to focus on better leveraging of our communication resources to engage, inform and, most importantly, strengthen relationships between our Board, association leadership and members. So, how have we been doing so far? I’m happy to report that with every issue we have been enhancing our magazine with a member-centered approach in mind, creating and presenting content that speaks to you. This can best be illustrated by the in-depth profiles spotlighting our committees and chapters. Thanks to this series, members now know the roles and responsibilities of the people behind the Scholarship and Recruitment and Retention Committees, and the issues that the Northern and Bay Area Chapters are currently tackling. While we’re just getting the ball rolling on this series, the profiles we have run have connected our membership, generating dialogue among members throughout the state. The feedback we have received from members has also been immensely positive.

Speaking of feedback, we are very interested in hearing more from our members about how we’re doing with the magazine, so we worked with our publishers at 911MEDIA to conduct a survey at Symposium asking for input on how and what to improve. The results were eye-opening. Not only were respondents receptive to all the proposed changes that we announced in March, but they wanted us to go even further in our member-centered approach. More than half wanted member profiles highlighting an individual member’s agency, the type of work they do, their achievements and their thoughts on prevalent law enforcement issues. Adding to that, a number of respondents asked for more content written by and geared toward retirees, with many suggesting legal advice from Legal Defense Fund attorneys for RAM members.

We also received many other suggestions for substantive content to cover. Respondents expressed interest in seeing more “news-you-can-use” type articles on new equipment and technology (76%), training (82%), continuing education (79%), peace officers’ off-duty activities (70%), educational resources (71%), coverage of PORAC events and trainings classes (67%), and legal advice (94%). Specific story ideas were suggested as well, including active-shooter training, drug trends, California gun laws, pensions and career survival.

We held a very productive meeting with 911MEDIA to go over these results and strategize how best to implement all this great feedback. After going over the comments, it was evident that our members want to hear more from one another. They want to know about individual members’ challenges, achievements and the issues they’re currently facing. They also want to learn from their fellow members, who operate in various capacities in different agencies across the state.

To that end, we are currently seeking members who can help us increase our coverage of the topics identified in the survey. If you have an idea for an article (such as a member we should profile or a question you’d like answered), or if you have opinions and expertise you want to share by submitting an article for publication, please email us at PORAC@911media.com. We are also calling for RAM writers who would like to write about or share their experiences with preparing for retirement and post-retirement issues.

In addition, we encourage members to keep sharing the great work being done by their agencies. If you share your agency’s major accomplishments or their involvement in the community on social media, use the hashtag #WeArePORAC so we can see, repost and share with all our members and public safety supporters the great work that your agency is doing.

We have created another way to connect with you and the public; check out our On the Job With PORAC podcast. Our second episode discusses Police Week and the annual spring Fly-In, and we just released a special bonus episode on AB 931. You can listen at PORAC.org/podcast or via the PORAC app. We hope that you’re following along as we tackle a variety of topics, including legislation, public safety and pensions, while providing up-to-date information on officer benefits, training and advocacy. We will be increasing our content and having special interviews as we continue recording more episodes.

I would like to close out my article with the following announcements: Registration is now open for the 66th Annual Conference of Members, and we have confirmed comedian Craig Shoemaker as this year’s Installation dinner entertainment (see page 8 for more details). “Like us” on Facebook and “follow” us on Twitter as we announce more information regarding this year’s conference.

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!

President’s Message

Brian Marvel
PORAC President

The California Peace Officers’ Memorial Ceremony last month in Sacramento honored six officers who died in the line of duty in 2017. The names added to the over 1,500 on the memorial were Officers Keith Boyer, Andrew Camilleri Sr. and Lucas Chellew; Deputies Jason Garner, Robert Rumfelt and Bob French.

As always, the ceremony was a moving event that paid respects to officers and deputies who took the oath, put the badge on and became part of the law enforcement community. The families of the fallen deeply appreciate our support and acknowledgment of their sacrifices. This year’s gathering appeared to be smaller than in years past, but no less important. And I’ve been proud to stand up for the families of those we’ve lost in the line of duty, so that they can receive the benefits, support and recognition they deserve. We must rededicate ourselves to the mission of supporting the families of the fallen, which is our solemn duty. We shall never forget.

While we were honoring these brave officers who heeded the call to serve, I couldn’t help but find it ironic that just across the street, legislation was being crafted that would further endanger peace officers or strip away their privacy.

State Senator Nancy Skinner has introduced legislation, Senate Bill (SB) 1421, that would increase public access to finalized police misconduct records and investigations into officer-involved shootings. She has said that transparency in cases of sexual assault, perjury, falsifying reports or planting evidence would reduce the “deep suspicion” many communities have of law enforcement. 

PORAC is all for transparency. In fact, PORAC last year introduced Assembly Bill (AB) 1428 by Assembly Member Evan Low, which significantly advanced the cause of transparency. The measure, held in Senate Appropriations, would have made public completed investigations into officer-involved shootings and serious use-of-force investigations. The difference between that bill and Skinner’s is that the identities of the officers, victims and witnesses would have been withheld for privacy purposes.

PORAC has met and will continue to meet with Senator Skinner and staff on SB 1421 to develop an agreed-upon system of transparency. However, until the peace officer appellate process statewide becomes more uniform, innocent officers will continue to be punished for simply doing their job. Be sure to read the Capitol Beat article on page 24 of this issue for details on why we oppose SB 1421 in its current form.

Nevertheless, I believe amendments can be made to ensure public safety and law enforcement’s privacy. We will continue to meet with Senator Skinner to find that middle ground to get SB 1421 over the finish line.

We thank the senator for her open-door policy with PORAC and other law enforcement organizations throughout the state. She was very active in reaching out to us as the bill was being proposed. Her approach to crafting legislation, especially of this nature, is a breath of fresh air.

This, however, wasn’t the case with AB 931, a measure that calls for changing the police use-of-force standard from “reasonable” to “necessary,” and only as a last resort.

PORAC adamantly opposes AB 931 and we are rallying everyone to come to our support. Not only would peace officers have to run through a mental checklist before using force but hesitating those crucial seconds before acting could jeopardize their safety as well as the safety of the communities we serve.

What is particularly aggravating is Assembly Members Dr. Shirley Weber and Kevin McCarty announced this legislation in April and rolled it out with great fanfare and never sought any input from the law enforcement community. It took them two weeks to get the language of the legislation out and then another week before they met with anyone from the law enforcement community. The only way we found out about the bill was from media calls before the press conference occurred. Weber and McCarty’s eventual meeting with law enforcement appears to be a check-the-box type of meeting just so they can say they met with us.

This legislation is so vague and unrealistic, its ultimate goal is to criminalize and second-guess an officer’s actions related to use-of-force incidents. Since the ACLU wrote this bill, this explains the pandering to the anti-police crowd who support it.

But, typical of our profession, law enforcement is solution oriented. We’re working to create something that’s more reasonable and doesn’t jeopardize officer safety with knee-jerk legislation. We will keep you posted.

All the best. Stay safe.

President’s Message

Brian Marvel
PORAC President

Every May, we focus on honoring the service and remembering the lives of heroes killed in the line of duty. We begin by gathering in Sacramento for the annual California Peace Officers’ Memorial Ceremony, where the names of the six officers who tragically lost their lives in 2017 will be added to the list of more than 1,500 who have made the ultimate sacrifice since California became a state. This event is a wonderful opportunity for surviving families not only to see their loved ones’ names inscribed on the monument, but also to experience the assembled strength of our law enforcement family as we pay tribute to their sacrifice and let them know it will never be forgotten.

May 12th marks the beginning of National Police Week, when tens of thousands of law enforcement officers, survivors and supporters travel to Washington, D.C., from across the country and around the world for a series of events commemorating the more than 21,000 fallen officers throughout U.S. history whose names are engraved on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. In addition, the last Monday in May is Memorial Day, when we honor the members of our military who have given their lives to preserve our way of life. Together, these events remind us that freedom is not free — it is paid for through personal duty and sacrifice, both for the public safety in our neighborhoods and the security of our nation.

If you have never attended the memorial ceremonies in Sacramento or Washington, I highly recommend doing so. Joining together as a profession to mourn the loss of our brothers and sisters is a powerful and cathartic experience. You have the chance to meet officers from around the state, the nation and even the world, allowing you to understand how large and diverse our professional family is — but, at the same time, how much we share in common. In this difficult era for law enforcement, being there for one another is more important than ever, and seeing the outpouring of respect and support from those in attendance is an important reminder that the work we do is deeply appreciated by many.

We experience a lot of tragedy in the course of our jobs. Whether you participate in these memorial events in person or in spirit, this is a time for sober reflection. As we grieve for those we have lost and comfort others who are grieving, we should also remember to take stock of the things that truly matter. As peace officers, this can be an opportunity to review our practices and make sure we’re being as safe as we can be while carrying out our duties. Although the rising numbers of law enforcement deaths by gunfire are of grave concern, the second-highest cause of line-of-duty deaths over the past decade remains car and motorcycle crashes, which together have taken the lives of more than 435 officers since 2008. Even as seat belt use among the general public has risen to an all-time high of about 90%, among public safety officers it is still estimated to be around 50%. Of the 167 officers who died in fatal car crashes between 2011 and 2015, 63 were not wearing seat belts, and nearly half died in single-vehicle incidents. We face so many external threats that are beyond our control, yet there are nearly as many losses that could be preventable if we commit to following simple safety measures and avoiding unnecessary risks. I urge you to wear your seat belt, watch your speed, stay alert and do everything you can to preserve your physical and mental well-being.

Taking care of ourselves and each other is especially important when it seems that society at large is failing to prioritize that. We are contending with a new wave of protests and legislation in Sacramento that once again threaten to compromise our safety and challenge our ability to protect the public. Most dangerous is AB 931, from Assembly Members Shirley Weber and Kevin McCarty. This major legislative proposal seeks to criminalize law enforcement uses of deadly force, eliminating the standard set by the U.S. Supreme Court in Graham v. Connor that force be “reasonable” and requiring instead that it be “necessary” — a subjective term that encourages exactly the kind of second-guessing the Supreme Court rejected. This bill is still in its preliminary stages, but based on the legislators’ initial press conference, we and our allies in law enforcement are deeply concerned. Be sure to read the PORAC News Roundup and Capitol Beat articles in this issue for more details, and follow our social media for the latest updates as we engage in the legislative process to protect our members and the communities we serve.

Please keep our fallen peace officers, their families and all members of the U.S. military in your thoughts and prayers during this month and throughout the year. Stay safe and God bless.

President’s Message

Brian Marvel
PORAC President

Last month, Brent and I traveled to our nation’s capital for a fly-in to meet with members of the California Congressional delegation and other policymakers. As the new PORAC president, I, along with our federal legislative advocates at Steptoe & Johnson, thought it was important that I introduce myself to lawmakers and outline our legislative priorities for the year, which were determined by the Board of Directors.

As soon as we landed, we hit the ground running. Before heading into back-to-back meetings, we were debriefed by the Steptoe staff. Darryl Nirenberg and Eva Rigamonti brought us up to speed on the status of several law enforcement–related programs and grants, and gave us an overview of the administration’s current policy priorities. As always, the Steptoe team did a wonderful job scheduling meetings with our representatives and providing us with the information needed to have productive conversations with lawmakers. I want to thank them for making my first fly-in as president run smoothly and efficiently.

President Brian Marvel and Vice President Brent Meyer visit the Department of Justice

Over the course of two days, Brent and I attended meetings with the offices of 10 legislators and several other policymakers, covering a long list of priorities that PORAC has identified with Steptoe as the most important to law enforcement in California and throughout the country. Of those priorities, we are actively lobbying and will take positions on legislation related to the following: preserving law enforcement pensions, fully funding COPS grants and other Department of Justice (DOJ) initiatives, dismantling human trafficking networks and assisting victims, and addressing gang proliferation and associated violence and crime. In addition, there are other issues of interest that we are monitoring and tracking, such as labor issues and the opioid epidemic, respectively.

One of our first meetings was with Russ Washington, acting director of the DOJ’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office. Since its establishment in 1994, the COPS program has been responsible for advancing community policing nationwide and supporting the community policing activities of state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies through annual grants. Agencies in California and throughout the nation have benefited from COPS grants, as they have contributed to increases in hiring, technical training and the development of special task forces. Despite all the good that has come from such federal funding, President Trump’s budget request for 2019 did not address funding for the program, even though it had received $221.5 million in the 2017 fiscal year. Needless to say, our meeting with Mr. Washington was imperative to discuss the importance of funding the program. In our conversation with him, Brent and I shared examples of how these funds assist our agencies. We also discussed having more California law enforcement representation on panels, speaking at hearings and providing our expert opinions on the future of policing in America.

Brent and I also met with eight California representatives and our two senators. In each meeting, we reiterated PORAC’s position of actively maintaining and expanding funding for federal law enforcement initiatives, especially for grant programs that have been eliminated or have experienced funding cuts. In addition to COPS, we wanted to draw our representatives’ attention to other programs and grants crucial to the advancement and success of the law enforcement profession, such as the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program (Byrne-JAG), the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program and the Body-Worn Camera Implementation Program. It is important that our elected leaders hear from public safety on the importance of these programs.

PORAC supports these programs because they are essential to ensuring that state and local law enforcement can effectively protect their communities. These programs are especially important given the difficult times our profession is under — with intense media scrutiny, lack of public support and so forth. Furthermore, researchers at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recently confirmed that law enforcement is the most fatal profession in the nation, with officers three times more likely to sustain nonfatal injury than all other U.S. workers. With the uptick of mass shootings nationwide and release of inmates with violent pasts under Proposition 47 in California, the statistics make sense and offer a hard look at how dangerous our profession is and how support from our government is needed to give us the resources and tools to dismantle and take on such threats.

Overall, I feel that our fly-in was successful in that we not only put these issues at the forefront of our representatives’ minds, but also reminded them, and stressed, that PORAC is always available as a reliable resource on law enforcement–related issues. For more details on the trip, check out Steptoe’s coverage on page 28.

In Memoriam

We would like to offer our sincerest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Police Officer Greggory Casillas of the Pomona Police Department. Casillas was shot and killed while in pursuit of an armed suspect on March 9. The 30-year-old was sworn in as a Pomona officer in September 2017 and was nearly finished with field training at the time of his death. At the time of this writing, so far this year, 16 law enforcement officers across the U.S. have been killed by gunfire. We hope that such tragedies remind our lawmakers about the dangers associated with being a law enforcement professional. Every day, public safety tries to make our communities safer. Rest in peace, Officer Casillas, your sacrifice will never be forgotten.  Fallen Officer Donations 

Stay safe and God bless.

President’s Message

Brian Marvel
PORAC President

One of my central goals as PORAC president is to utilize all of our communication resources to further strengthen the relationships between the Board of Directors, association leadership and, most importantly, our members. As part of that effort, we’ve been taking a close look at PORAC Law Enforcement News and how it can better serve our purpose.

This magazine is a powerful tool for delivering PORAC’s message directly into the homes of members around the state every month. It’s a tangible benefit of PORAC membership and a physical record of the tremendous work our organization is doing on all fronts to aid our members and advocate for law enforcement as a whole. But I think we can take even greater advantage of this opportunity to speak to our members and address your most pressing concerns, as well as recruit new members by showcasing everything that PORAC has to offer.

In February, Brent Meyer and I met with our publishers at 911MEDIA to discuss ideas for a new direction for PORAC LE News. All of us agreed that there are many exciting possibilities we can pursue to bring readers more member-oriented, strategic, professionally relevant and practical content in each issue. I’m pleased to announce that over the coming months, you’ll see us begin to roll out some of these changes to the magazine, and we hope you find them helpful and engaging.

How well do you really know PORAC? Outside of the Board messages and meeting minutes in each issue, how much do you see of what goes on behind the scenes of our organization? PORAC has a number of committees working hard to serve our members, and to help you get better acquainted with them, we’ll be turning the spotlight on each one in turn. This new series of articles will help you better understand what your committees are doing on your behalf and introduce you to additional resources for assistance with any concern you might have.

We also want to help you get to know one another better. With more than 70,000 members dispersed throughout every corner of California, it’s difficult for all of us to meet in person. Yet that broad reach is also one of PORAC’s greatest strengths, and we want to increase it by highlighting the diversity of backgrounds, experiences, perspectives and interests that make up our great membership. To start, we’ll be launching a series of articles profiling each of our chapters in numerical order. Our hope is that learning more about where and who your fellow members are — their challenges, their achievements, the issues they’re currently facing and how PORAC helps them succeed — will bring us all closer together and inspire you, your association and your own chapter as you navigate the road ahead.

In addition, we want to more accurately reflect the realities of law enforcement. To enhance the magazine illustrations, our vision is to build a databank of photographs of actual law enforcement officers performing their duties all over the state so we can show the amazing work that our members are doing each and every day. And, as Black History Month comes to a close and Women’s History Month begins, I’m especially interested in exploring how the magazine can honor and include the contributions of these and other historically underrepresented groups within our ranks, bringing a greater variety of voices to our conversation and manifesting the true depth and breadth of our membership. We hope to bring you more real-world stories of all kinds that share the many accomplishments of our fellow peace officers, adding to the narrative of all the great work being done daily throughout our great state and the nation.

That’s where you come in! We want to hear from you about the magazine: what you’d like, what could be improved and what kinds of articles you most want to read each month. We’re planning to conduct a survey of Symposium attendees on these questions, and you can also email your feedback to porac@911media.com. Please send us your story ideas and your photos of life on the job — and remember, the PORAC app allows you to easily send photos directly from your smartphone. If you have valuable expertise on issues relevant to our members, consider writing an article for the magazine. I look forward to hearing what you have to say.

We’re enthusiastic about these innovations, and there are even more in the works. Keep reading on the next page, where Brent gives you a look at how we’ll be integrating the updated PORAC Law Enforcement News with our other communications.

President’s Message

Brian Marvel
PORAC President

On Politics!

Ronald Reagan, who knew a thing or two about politics, once said, “You and I are told we must choose between left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right.”

As the New Year gets underway and the 2018 campaign season kicks offs in earnest, PORAC must make the hard decisions regarding who we endorse for elected office. The stakes are high, as every constitutional office, the entirety of the Assembly and half the Senate will go before the voters.

As directors, it is our obligation to look out for the safety and economic interests of our members, the protection of those on the front lines during an increasingly combustible time, the social health of our communities, and PORAC’s steadfast message to protect those who protect and serve others. Achieving the goals of PORAC’s mission statement cannot be accomplished only with a legislative agenda and a perspective that is unique to those of us who do our job. We must operate in the political arena. As endorsements are made public, the same questions get asked: Why do we endorse or get involved? Why did you endorse so-and-so — have you lost your ever-loving mind?

PORAC has a protocol for handling our endorsements. Most candidates who come to us for an endorsement have established ties with our organization at the local level and with the chapters and associations. Directors make their choices based in part on the questionnaires completed by the candidates that delineate their responses to our issues of importance, combined with in-person board interviews and their history of public service — often a mixed bag that makes us balance their record on bread-and-butter issues with input from experienced consultants and attending meetings or having discussions with the respective candidates.

The endorsement decisions are never made lightly and they are sometimes not ideal. California is a state of extraordinary complexity, and while we have never taken the lesser of two evils, we have decided to find common ground with candidates who will be officeholders. I can provide one irrevocable truth, however: that candidates who take a professed anti-union view and refuse to go through the process, or don’t provide the necessary information or attend interviews, will not be considered.

PORAC is viewed in most circles as the most important law enforcement association in California and among the few with national impact. Our breadth of policy discussion goes to the core of how our members do their job on a daily basis, and how they retire at the end of their career. We deal with sectors of leadership that are resistant to law enforcement issues but are willing to engage in the discussion with PORAC. If we don’t engage the politicians, we don’t get a seat at the table. The Board understands pragmatism and has no illusions about the system, yet we take into consideration the illusions that many of our members have about the way we should deal with our elected officials.

Endorsements can antagonize our members. Sometimes we choose candidates we wouldn’t want to invite to our family barbecues, but we are able to have a professional-level discussion. Some candidates are good on law-and-order issues and others are good on pay and benefits. We must prioritize when no one candidate in the race is perfect. Once we endorse, we understand that it allows the fiercest partisans, most of whom have not done the research and careful consideration, to summarily dismiss us as Republican shills or Democratic lapdogs. Interestingly, and most of you will laugh at the absurdity, we have been called both in the same race.

We will continue to endorse because public policy has a major impact on our livelihoods and working conditions. The people we elect make decisions on budgets and determine if our pensions will be secure and guaranteed.

As the preeminent law enforcement organization in California, we will do our due diligence to honestly inform our members of the facts and encourage them to push a pro-public-safety agenda. History has proven that our efforts are damn effective, not perfect, but careful, considered and done with the interest of our members in mind. The most direct way we do that is in choosing who will lead our governments.

Our success in the political arena is dependent on our members’ commitment to being active and participating in the election process. We always welcome input, especially if it is thoughtful and reflects the professionalism of the men and women who have dedicated their lives to increased civility and the safety of the millions of Californians we protect.

President’s Message

Brian Marvel
PORAC President

Welcome to the New Year! I hope you all had a great Christmas and were able to spend time with loved ones to strengthen the bonds of family and friendship. This holiday season, I was able to reflect on my time leading the San Diego Police Officers Association — the successes, the failures and the ideas that took time to come to fruition. I wonder how nine years went by so quickly, but I realize that some of the issues we faced had a dramatic effect on people’s careers and life choices. I know I raised the bar higher than my predecessor, and I wish my successor all the best and hope they raise the bar even higher.

Transitioning Into the Role of President

Once the Thanksgiving holiday was over, I immediately began transitioning with Past President Mike Durant. My first order of business was being sworn in as a new member of the Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory (RIPA) Board for PORAC. As soon as I was seated, I was handed the 2018 Annual Report. This is the first report of the RIPA Board, and California’s first-ever statewide report on racial and identity profiling in law enforcement. Ninety-two pages of joyous reading. Mike has written extensively about the RIPA Board and some of the hurdles that exist for PORAC and peace officers statewide based on its composition. Only four of the possible 19 board members come from law enforcement, and PORAC is the only rank-and-file representative. Even though the numbers don’t reflect a good dynamic, we do have a voice on the board, and as the old adage goes, if you are not at the table you are on the menu.

In addition to RIPA, we met with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to discuss the re-notice of the Proposition 57 regulations. The revised regulations are the result of a previous public comment period. As with Proposition 47 and Assembly Bill 109, PORAC will continue to monitor these public safety measures and advocate for the victims and the communities we serve so they have an equal voice in these discussions. If 2017 was an indication of what 2018 will look like, we will need to redouble our efforts at the Capitol. A lot can be done in Sacramento, but we will need solid support at the local level, especially since we have had a preview of what lies ahead.

As soon as the Christmas holiday season is over and the new year begins, eyes begin to shift to the November elections. It is a non-presidential election year, but for California it will be a very important one, determining who will be our next governor and attorney general. PORAC will continue to do our due diligence in vetting the candidates for their respective offices. In addition, we will be working with our partners and allies to assess the ballot propositions that make the final cut. Having these relationships will be paramount for the success we will need to achieve our goals in November.

As I was attending meetings for and on behalf of PORAC, I was also meeting with the staff to get a better understanding of its internal functioning. I really wanted to sit, listen, learn and pause to give myself the ability to make a thoughtful review of the organization’s processes. Although my time was short in this area during the month of December, I plan on having more in-depth discussions, not only with staff but also with the Board. During my campaign, I had a vision of where I would like to see PORAC headed, and now I need to implement those goals with the support of the staff and Board.

Short-Term Goals

One of the easiest goals to work on immediately is the social media component. Hopefully, in just the last few weeks you have noticed some changes. I met with Terry McHale, Michele Cervone and Pat Moran from Marketplace Communications to discuss increasing PORAC’s presence on all our social media platforms. I want to focus on increasing our audience, pushing out more positive stories about the incredible work being done day in and day out by peace officers throughout California. None of us entered law enforcement to be famous, but unfortunately, the narrative on our profession is not being written by us and that must change. We have a few things in the works and I will announce those as we get all the details worked out. In the meantime, give us a like on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. If you already do, ask your family, friends and colleagues to do the same.

Lastly, I want to thank the CAHP Credit Union for their very generous donation of $10,000 to the Peace Officers Relief and Education Foundation (POREF). We are extremely grateful for all the support they have given PORAC over the years — community partners in every sense of the word. Thank you!