Treasurer’s Message

Timothy Davis
PORAC Treasurer

Law enforcement officers are often criticized for their interactions with three groups of people that continue to fill our streets and communities: the homeless, the mentally ill and those who are drug and/or alcohol dependent. There certainly are grounds to argue that many of these people are where they are because of the choices they have made, but we, as law enforcement officers, cannot ignore the fact that these groups draw away resources that traditionally have been used elsewhere. In many communities throughout our state, calls for service involving these groups are common, strain resources and are at higher risk of resulting in conflict.

Demand for police services in these areas continue to grow, despite many law enforcement agencies reallocating officers and resources to address these calls. This is not because law enforcement is failing. It is because all the other levels of government have failed.  Law enforcement professionals have long been called to do the jobs other government agencies have left undone, and this problem has been magnified in dealing with the homeless, mentally ill and chemically dependent. Law enforcement officers often go home discouraged because they are unable to stop an unrelenting tide of mental health and homeless calls and don’t have the resources they need to help these citizens end their downward spirals. 

Our officers have been given the unattainable task of solving a problem that no other level of government has succeeded in doing. When police interactions with the mentally ill, the homeless or the chemically dependent go bad, politicians grandstand and anti-police groups attack. But it is not the fault of the police. It is the fault of both society and government as a whole, which have not provided the solutions or the tools officers need to solve what has proven to be a difficult and growing problem. Law enforcement officers are only one member of a larger team tasked with solving this problem. Just as it is unfair to blame a team’s goalie when the opposing team scores, it is also unfair to blame law enforcement officers when an encounter goes bad if no other levels of government have assisted in our efforts and elected officials have failed to give us the resources we need.

This legislative cycle, our state elected leaders are faced with a choice on how to reduce negative outcomes in police encounters with the mentally ill, the homeless and those who are chemically dependent. Two plans have been introduced. One blames police officers, attacks their right to self-defense and seeks to punish police officers as murderers when they err in their spilt-second decision-making. The other, SB 230, gives our law enforcement officers the tools they need to succeed: training, policy improvements and, most important, resources to help the mentally ill, the homeless and the chemically dependent get off the streets and into services that can improve their situations. Law enforcement officers often feel like the goalie on the field alone.  It’s time for the rest of government and society to get on the field, play their positions and help us solve these critical issues as a team.

Treasurer’s Message

Timothy Davis
PORAC Treasurer

When I was elected president of the Sacramento Police Officers Association, I had a singular focus on negotiating our association’s next MOU. While I was aware that there were many other responsibilities of an association president, I had not given them much thought. During my first month as president, many of these other responsibilities reared their heads. I was immediately contacted by two mayoral candidates who wanted our association’s endorsement, I was called out to provide representation to officers on a critical incident, I had my first closed-door meeting with the chief of police, I responded to media requests for interviews, I began meeting with city council members who had been neglected by my association in the past and I held my first board meeting, in which a divided group argued over a very contentious issue. I was overwhelmed and, to be honest, I really didn’t know what I was doing.

I quickly realized that I could not do the job alone, but I was under the misguided belief that I should be able to run my organization completely by myself, without any training or assistance. On my first callout I didn’t even notify the other members of my association’s leadership team, because I didn’t think it would be right for me to bother them at night. One afternoon, a few weeks into my term, I became frustrated because I was having difficulty setting up an appointment to meet with my city council members. One of the staff members saw my frustration and said, “Why are you trying to do that? That’s my job.” I felt both stupid and relieved — stupid for not having asked and relieved to know that there were people just waiting to assist me in my duties and responsibilities.

I’m not sure if other association leaders have had similar experiences, but the truth is that most of us who volunteer to serve our membership begin with little knowledge on how to do the job well. While I struggled through my first few months, my true failure was being too proud to ask for help. After those first few weeks, I quickly rectified that error. I began to reach out for both assistance and knowledge. I learned that there are many experienced leaders out there who have been through similar experiences. These leaders also had to struggle at first, and they achieved their successes because others were there to help them in their times of need. Most of these leaders stand ready to help us when we need them.

I also discovered that I need training to learn how to better serve my membership. An association president needs to understand negotiations, public relations, media relations, politics, discipline process, leadership, mentoring, budgeting and many other diverse topics. Association leaders need to seek out training for themselves and for their board members. I searched for and began attending training that would help me be more successful in serving my membership. I passed on the knowledge I gained to my board and encouraged them to attend training, too.

My keys to understanding how to be successful in my responsibilities were conversations with my fellow association leaders and attending training. PORAC was instrumental in helping me in these two areas. I began attending my local chapter and other PORAC meetings, where I would see leaders of other associations in my region. I would take the opportunity to discuss issues affecting my association and gained great insight from my fellow leaders. I also began to attend PORAC training classes. At these classes, I not only received great instruction, but I was again able to meet with other association leaders to share and discuss issues that affected our members.

Even now, with over three years of experience in running my association, I still feel that there is much for me to learn. I still use the connections I have made at PORAC to discuss important issues with my fellow association leaders, and I continue to search out new training courses for myself and my association board. I would encourage those of you in leadership roles in your association to attend PORAC meetings and training. Participate and learn. Make new relationships with other leaders in your area and you will learn to be a better servant to your membership.

Treasurer’s Message

Timothy Davis
PORAC Treasurer

I want to start by thanking the PORAC membership for electing me as treasurer of PORAC. I am honored to be selected to serve you and the interests of law enforcement in California. I pledge to put my time, efforts and knowledge toward advancing the safety of all Californians, especially those who have stepped forward, put on a badge and serve their communities as law enforcement officers.

I come from a law enforcement family. My father started his career with the Sacramento Police Department in 1970, after returning home from his military service in Vietnam. As a child, I remember him stopping by the house during his evening shift for “Code-7.” I was proud to see my father in uniform. When he returned to work after eating, my sisters and I would watch out the window as he turned on his emergency lights, chirped his siren and left to complete his shift. I was inspired by my father and his service to both our city as a police officer and our nation as a military police officer in the Army National Guard. He always seemed to be in one uniform or the other.

I followed in my father’s footsteps and joined the Sacramento Police Department in 1998, where I have served as a police officer for the past 20 years. My son, by graduating from the Sacramento Police Academy this past summer, has made it three generations from the Davis family to serve Sacramento.

My family is not unusual. Many of you come from law enforcement families. Whether you are the first from your family to serve or you come from a multigenerational law enforcement family like mine, we are all brothers and sisters, serving our communities together. We have all, by taking the oath to serve, joined the law enforcement family. Our family is currently facing many struggles. Many of us are facing staffing shortages and long hours, as our agencies labor to fill vacant positions. We are under attack from the media and anti-police groups who mistakenly blame law enforcement for society’s problems and failures. We are facing more dangerous criminals in our communities as changes such as realignment and reduced sentencing have emptied prisons and jails and returned criminals back into the neighborhoods we police. With decriminalization of drugs, lack of quality mental health services and rampant homeless problems in our communities, the demands on law enforcement is ever increasing yet we don’t have the tools and staffing we need to adequately and safely address the problems that society demands we solve.

Our law enforcement family is strained and struggling, but we are resilient and will push through. We have proven our ability to adapt to societal changes and we will continue to be successful in safely serving the communities we are sworn to protect. There is much work to do. I dedicate myself to serving you. I am honored to walk with you and I am here to advocate for law enforcement and for laws and policies that will allow us all to better serve and safeguard our communities.