Vice President’s Message

Damon Kurtz

PORAC Vice President

As I write this article, many of the COVID restrictions are easing and we are moving closer to reopening California. This means that we will have the ability to hold in-person meetings, trainings and events. Aside from the LDF, IBT and RMT, one of the best benefits of being a member of PORAC is the ability to network with your peers across the state. The COVID lockdown has severely hampered our ability to meet with one another and stay current on the issues we face. As an association leader or simply a member who wants to be more engaged, PORAC strives to provide opportunities for you to learn from and strategize with your peers in law enforcement labor. It’s not uncommon to see associations making public statements on issues in which the information may be outdated or factually incorrect. In this era of hyper-scrutiny of law enforcement, it’s incredibly important to not only be factually correct, but to also speak on the issues with a united voice. In my opinion, our collective voice is what makes us truly effective in our advocacy of law enforcement. The challenge we face as association leaders in a large state with a diverse population is that it can be difficult to find common ground on the issues we are all facing. Being active with our peer organizations helps us face these challenges, and a good way to do this is by attending PORAC chapter meetings.

Chapter meetings are now moving away from virtual and back to in-person meetings. Although the use of virtual meetings has proven to be a useful tool, I do not believe they are as effective as in-person meetings. These meetings are essential to PORAC, as we need to hear from all of our member associations large and small. There is no “one size fits all” solution to law enforcement, and we use the information gathered at these meetings to help craft our advocacy efforts at the state and federal legislatures.  Although there are still some associations that seek to put their individual organization’s name above the collective voice of law enforcement, at PORAC, we will continue to represent all our members through a statewide lens. Brian and I, as well as your local representative on the Board of Directors, will be at these chapter meetings. We look forward to hearing from you and gaining the insight of your perspective on the issues to help us navigate these challenging times.

Providing a wide variety of training classes is another benefit to our membership organizations. PORAC took advantage of the shutdowns to re-evaluate many of our training classes. Some course curriculums have changed as well as the instructors who teach the classes. New classes will be presented this year in a Peer Support class, and we have partnered with Force Science to bring the two- and five-day certification courses to the membership. These classes provide an excellent opportunity to learn something new while networking with your peer association leaders. This year, we have also revamped the PORAC Labor Relations Program (LRP). The LRP is basically a scholarship program for small associations of 30 members or fewer that otherwise do not have the resources to send their members to training classes. PORAC covers the costs associated in attending these classes for those organizations. The classes have been historically limited to the Leadership and Basic Collective Bargaining classes. This year, PORAC has expanded the LRP to include our other classes offered. Lastly, this year’s Conference of Members is slated to take place in Monterey on November 19–21. Attendance will be in high demand, so keep an eye out for registration — it will likely sell out quickly. As always, stay safe and healthy out there!

Vice President’s Message

Damon Kurtz

PORAC Vice President

Legislative games are in full swing at the State Capitol once again. What was once a rare occurrence from only a few select legislators has now become the norm. The good news is that PORAC leadership and our advocates are prepared to challenge any bad legislation as it comes forward. One of the biggest challenges we face as law enforcement advocates is that we are morally and ethically bound to speak the truth in our representation of prospective legislation. These same rules do not apply to those who seek to defund and destroy the law enforcement profession. There is no requirement to swear an oath to testify truthfully in any committee at the Legislature and, as we know, the media operates in the realm of fiction in their reporting practices. They would have everyone believe that misconduct is rampant in the law enforcement profession. We all know this to be blatantly false. But even though we are playing by different rules, that does not mean we cannot be effective in changing this narrative.

Politics is a participation sport, and it requires all of us to be engaged to be successful. This does not mean you have to be an association leader to help. It truly starts with each individual officer and their daily interactions. We must be better in our communication with the public. Take the time to educate during our citizen contacts about law enforcement. As associations, we must be better engaged with our elected officials, from the school board to the federal level. I know I’m a broken record on politics, but we need everyone to be more engaged, from new academy graduates to our most seasoned veterans.

I hear way too often from association leaders, “I don’t like politics.” My response is: “Who does?” It is a necessary evil in any profession. It can be tedious and time-consuming, but if we do not cultivate relationships, our message often falls on deaf ears and leads to animosity. These relationships affect everything from your prospective contract negotiations to state and federal legislation. In many cases, I see the focus on our elected officials only during negotiations, and too often our relationships are focused on only those who agree with us on issues. While it’s important to keep those relationships strong, I would argue that more time should be devoted to those we disagree with. What has been lost in society today is the ability to sit down and work through our differences. Many of the issues we are dealing with do not need legislation, just a cooperative approach. As we navigate through the legislation on police reform, we need to remind everyone that we all want the same thing: safer communities and better outcomes in our interactions with the public. Unfortunately, there are those who have perverted legislative reforms into their personal vendettas against law enforcement. There is so much mistrust in how law enforcement is viewed today, and rather than looking for blame, we need to look for ways to create that trust. I harp on relationship-building with your prospective elected leaders because these relationships help us in PORAC’s advocacy efforts. Many of you already do an amazing job in your outreach efforts, and I thank you.

PORAC’s effectiveness comes from our member associations and our individual members. Representing so many in law enforcement, from patrol officers to specialized policing groups, allows us to bring a singular voice to our advocacy efforts. In the coming months, we will once again call upon you to help with those efforts. We may call upon you to attend a virtual meeting with a legislator or rally your friends and family to send letters and emails. Whatever the request, I am confident that we will come together as a team and rise to the challenge. As always, stay safe and healthy out there!

Vice President’s Message

Damon Kurtz

PORAC Vice President

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vice President’s Message

Damon Kurtz
PORAC Vice President

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

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

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

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

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

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

As always, stay healthy and stay safe out there!

Vice President’s Message

Damon Kurtz
PORAC Vice President

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vice President’s Message

Damon Kurtz
PORAC Vice President

Well, it’s finally here, the end of 2020 is upon us! The challenges this past year brought, I hope, will stay in 2020. Although the pandemic continues, the possibility of a vaccine brings hope for some normalcy in 2021. Unfortunately, one thing that has become normal is attacks on the law enforcement profession. Some may take offense to me saying that law enforcement is being attacked and that reform is needed. To that, I say we as law enforcement professionals welcome the dialogue on reform and will embrace many of the concepts brought forward. We will not shy away from law enforcement reforms. After all, it’s always our goal to have better outcomes, and we will always be looking to better our profession. Unfortunately, many have turned the “reform movement” into a vindictive political agenda that has no regard for the safety of law enforcement officers or the public we serve. So, as we say good riddance to 2020 and look to 2021 with a fresh outlook, we will be prepared to bring a fair and reasonable approach to law enforcement reforms.

Now that the elections have concluded, I would imagine many are not happy with some of the outcomes. For PORAC, there were some losses that will be felt for some time to come. None more than the Los Angeles district attorney’s race. With the election of George Gascón, we can expect a much louder voice for unreasonable reforms that will seek to provide a pathway for peace officers being prosecuted. Across the nation, there were several referendums on law enforcement reform. The majority of these initiatives were focused on oversight and transparency, and most of them passed by wide margins. The message should be clear to us all — there will be reform. Like all legislation, the devil is in the details. This makes the importance of a unified voice in law enforcement even more important.

At PORAC, it’s our goal to bring the collective voice of our member associations. I fully expect our advocacy to be tested again in 2021. As I have stated multiple times, those advocacy efforts start with you at the local level. Maintaining good relationships with your elected representative and community groups are just as important as our efforts at the State Capitol and in Washington, D.C. As association leaders, we can no longer only focus on local issues. Your local issues can quickly become a precedent and affect all of law enforcement. Make sure you are going to your chapter meetings and share what’s happening in your community. We are all in this together!

On a much lighter note, it’s also the holiday season. I hope we all get time to disengage from our daily stressors and get to focus on what’s truly important, our friends and family. A strong support network is so important to our well-being. It’s important that we spend time with those outside our profession to keep us grounded. It seems that as LE officers, we focus on the negative, and I often worry about our members who seem to be stuck in a negative mindset. I challenge everyone to take at least one day (hopefully more) and spend it with friends and loved ones with no discussions about work or politics. No news, no social media, just the people you care about. Let’s make a conscious effort to be more positive in 2021. I know I take solace in my friends and family and the support they give me. I also find comfort in knowing that when I am at work, my LE family is there, too. Despite our differences, we all have each other’s backs. Like my time in the military, the bond we share as fellow law enforcement officers means we have friends wherever we go. 

With most events and trainings canceled in 2020, I am excited to bring back PORAC trainings and events for 2021. The shutdown of our events allowed us to look at our classes and events to make them better. Our first major event will be the 2021 PORAC Symposium and POREF Open Golf Tournament in April. I look forward to seeing everyone this coming year in person. Stay safe and healthy out there!

Vice President’s Message

Damon Kurtz
PORAC Vice President

As we enter the final stages of the election season, I am eager to put this year behind us. It’s unfortunate that the political climate has become so divisive, even among our member associations and members of the law enforcement community. For Brian and I, it is a virtual minefield when it comes to political endorsements as we try to merge the strategies of the local chapters and associations with those of the state interests at the Capitol. Although many of us are focused on the presidential election, for PORAC, it is the local and state races that will impact us the most in regard to future legislation, especially in the area of police reform. 

We are busy putting together our legislative strategy and bill proposals for the upcoming session, which begins on December 7. The expectation is that many of the bills that negatively impacted law enforcement will be reintroduced. This makes your relationships at the local levels as important as ever to help us bring a commonsense approach to legislation at the state level.

One of the greatest benefits of PORAC is the collective voice of our member associations. Having member associations in virtually every legislative district gives us the ability to have a consistent message when we represent law enforcement at the Capitol. Having a broad view of an issue rather than a singular agency vision and allowing for input from all our membership was always something I valued as a representative of my local association. Now as the vice president of PORAC, I value this even more — your input is what allows us to be successful.

Although it’s still unknown how COVID-19 will impact us in 2021, PORAC is focused on bringing the members a quality mix of training and opportunities for meeting and networking. We know 2021 will bring its own challenges and it’s our goal to help each association be successful. We recently held an Advanced Collective Bargaining class and plan on providing this class and others in the coming year. Networking with PORAC member associations has been one of the most impactful benefits for me, especially when it came to negotiating MOUs or department policies. I know as cops we tend to have a “circle the wagons” mentality when it comes to our local issues, but I encourage you to reach out and network on your issues. Together we can be truly effective in helping our member associations be successful. These local issues can be precedent-setting and can affect us all.

There are times where I’ve heard association leaders comment on a training or an event, stating they did not get anything from attending. My response to them is, “But did someone else benefit from what you brought to the event?” The collective knowledge and experiences we share at these events can be the difference between success or failure for those looking for guidance on their issues. As Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

Our 2021 Symposium is scheduled for April 15–17 at the Laguna Cliffs Resort in Dana Point. There will be a good mix of industry experts and presentations that we believe will be useful to you and your members. It will be immediately followed by the POREF Open Golf Tournament, to be held April 17 at the Monarch Beach Golf Links. This event will benefit our education and relief funds, which allow us to provide educational scholarships and much-needed monetary relief to those impacted by tragic events such as the wildfires here in California. (See page 41 for more details.)

PORAC will remain focused on our advocacy efforts at the state and federal levels and on providing the best possible benefits to our members. Thank you for all of your support. Take care and be safe out there! 

Vice President’s Message

Damon Kurtz
PORAC Vice President

The 2020 legislative session ended on August 31 with a good amount of drama. For PORAC and all of law enforcement, we were focused on roughly 25 bills in the Assembly and Senate that were aimed at police reform. Like many bills focused on law enforcement, they were put together haphazardly and without input from industry experts. With the political climate demonizing law enforcement, many of these bills would have had a negative impact, not just on our profession but also on the communities we serve. Because of the issues surrounding COVID, the legislative process was extremely difficult, as it was much harder to meet and hopefully educate our elected officials on the ramifications of some of the bills being introduced. Ultimately, it came down to the last few hours of this session, but the majority of the bills we opposed did not pass out of the Legislature. This was in large part due to the hard work done by Randy Perry and our advocates at Aaron Read & Associates. Thanks to them and a strong law enforcement coalition of groups outside of PORAC, we were able to make it through this session without the passage of bills like SB 731, which would have been devastating to the law enforcement profession. SB 731 would have created an unfair decertification of POST certificates and removed qualified immunity.

Unfortunately, the 2021 legislative session is already shaping up to be every bit as challenging as years past. We will be prepared to deal with all these bills again, as many will most likely be reintroduced. New challenges are coming from places where we traditionally had political allies. Everyone should be aware by now of the Los Angeles County district attorney election. George Gascón, the former DA of San Francisco, who has demonized law enforcement and worked to weaken the criminal justice system here in California, is seeking to unseat incumbent Jackie Lacey. If successful, he will use the L.A. District Attorney’s Office to influence legislation and elections of DAs across the state. As proof of this agenda, the progressive DAs have formed their own group outside of their DA peers to lobby in Sacramento for extreme bills in hopes of giving these bills the legitimacy of “law enforcement” support. Maintaining strong advocacy remains a primary focus for PORAC.

PORAC’s effectiveness comes from our 930-plus associations and our 77,000-plus members. It gives us a level of confidence that when we put out a call for assistance from our members, you always come through. As we head into the 2021 legislative session, I urge you to maintain close communications with your elected officials in your area. The individual relationships you build at home help our united voice in Sacramento and in Washington, D.C. The legislative efforts on police reform in most cases aren’t a bad thing in concept; it’s the details of that reform where we cannot agree. I often say that reform is not a new concept to law enforcement, and we do not resist it. We have always been in reform, always looking for better outcomes for both the officer and the public. Although the voices of those who disparage law enforcement are loud, there are many more voices that support us. I am confident that the voices of support will soon drown out the negative rhetoric. Law enforcement is a noble profession, and I am proud to represent you.

As restrictions on COVID ease and with the possibility of a vaccine in the near future, we will be meeting in person again. I hope to see you all soon, whether it is at a chapter meeting, Symposium or Annual Conference. Although this year’s Conference has been canceled, we will still be meeting as a full Board in November. We still want to hear from you. President Marvel and I are always looking to improve on how PORAC serves its members. Thank you for your service, and stay safe out there!

Vice President’s Message

Damon Kurtz
PORAC Vice President

We are now about three-quarters of the way through the year, and I, for one, am looking forward to the normalcy of what an off-election year brings in 2021. To say this has been a challenging and disappointing year would be an understatement. Put aside the issues surrounding COVID-19, the political ramifications that have arisen from this year will be long felt. I do not think I ever thought that our political system could ever be as divisive as it has become. I have watched in disappointment the hate and vitriol spewing from the left and right. Worse yet, the media has become complicit in spreading hate and fear within our communities. Where does the public go to get the true news without political bias? We are constantly bombarded with half-truths and sometimes outright lies. Is it any wonder why there is so much unrest? Propaganda has been used for hundreds of years to undermine governments and political systems. Our media has become nothing more than propaganda. The “cancel culture,” which we live in today, seems hell-bent on changing the very fabric of our country. It seems the mantra now is, if we do not like our history, we will erase it and rewrite it based on political agenda, despite what the facts may be. God forbid, we focus on our progress and growth. As a nation, we have areas of dark and disappointing history. We also have so many things to be proud of. I think we can look at our own personal history in a similar fashion. I myself can say I have said or done things in my life that I am not proud of. Whether it was out of immaturity, ignorance or arrogance, I have made mistakes. But I have learned from those mistakes and have tried to be a better person as a result. It’s called personal growth. As a nation and as individuals, I think it’s important to know where you came from and where you want to be. 

I have written often about being civically involved and how important it is. Now, more than ever, we need our members to be involved in our communities. The activists have taken over the media and the political agenda. There is a deliberate and very vocal push to defund the police in our communities. Behind the scenes, there is a push to undermine our POAs and DSAs. Our ability to collectively bargain for our members is being attacked as an impediment to reform. If our voice is stifled, who will be there for law enforcement? At PORAC, we often speak of the “silent majority,” but the silent majority is you — those of you not engaged with your local POA or DSA who go out and do the job every day and go home to your families. We need the everyday person to start engaging in their communities. I’m not asking for people to get political. In fact, I think that’s where we all struggle to communicate with each other. As members of the community, we all have similar needs — the desire to live in a safe and clean environment. We need everyone to start having common-sense conversations with our friends, families and neighbors. Call or email your legislators — it does work! I believe together we can make a difference despite the obstacles the media may put in front of us. 

PORAC will continue to be a voice for law enforcement, and be a resource for our elected officials on legislative issues. Through our collective voice of over 930 organizations, we will force dialogue and try to bring reasonable solutions to the elected who, in many cases, act with emotion and without facts. These are tough times, but together we will get through it. Take care and stay safe out there!

Vice President’s Message

Damon Kurtz
PORAC Vice President

Well, we are halfway through 2020, and to be honest, I’m kind of done with the events of this year. It seems like every article I’ve written this year starts out talking about the strange times we are experiencing. It feels like we are living through a cheesy made-for-TV movie with plot twists and conspiracies. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined a world in which “defund the police” is a political platform debated at the highest levels of our government, or in which a pandemic literally shuts down our nation.

Unfortunately, this is the world we live in these days, and it has kept President Marvel and I on our toes. Our advocacy efforts have had to be very adaptive as we try to navigate the political landscape of both state and federal legislation pertaining to law enforcement reform. Reform is not a new thing for law enforcement, and it’s not a scary word. The truth is our profession is and has been in a constant state of reform. Always changing and adapting to new challenges. Always training on new techniques and tactics for better outcomes, both for the officer and the community. The difference is today the reform is about having less law enforcement and, in some cases, no law enforcement.

As our federal, state and local lawmakers debate these issues, many law enforcement agencies have had to re-evaluate their enforcement strategies. Proactive policing has been severely hampered, and consequently, crime is on a sharp increase, especially violent crime. To add to these challenges here in California, we have the added burden of zero bail and the early release of thousands of inmates from our prisons. For some reason, the news media and our elected officials are under the belief that everyone in prison or who is arrested does not deserve to be in prison and is not a danger to our communities.

With all the rhetoric about how bad police are and the protests, what is sadly forgotten is the victims — I will say it again, the victims! They have been completely overshadowed by every political pundit and candidate trying to seize the moment for their own benefit. Where is the outcry for the victims of the crimes these early-release individuals committed? Who stands up for them? Who is standing up for those victimized everyday as crime rates skyrocket in our communities? That is an easy question: it’s our law enforcement officers who swore an oath to protect our communities.

Even as we are maligned in the media and in the political arena, officers continue to do their duty. It’s that sense of duty that motivates our profession. I have said it before, but I am proud of our profession, and most of all, I am proud to have worked side by side with many hardworking officers whose dedication to their job and communities is unrivaled. Knowing the character of the men and women of law enforcement allows me to passionately represent this profession. I rest easy knowing that despite all the ugly rhetoric, our officers are still out there protecting our communities and will continue to do so. As for Brian and I, we will remain laser-focused on the Legislature to make sure common sense  is part of the discussion when it comes to reforms. As always, thank you for your service, and stay safe out there!