Vice President’s Message

Damon Kurtz
PORAC Vice President

With the completion of our 67th Annual Conference of Members, we enter the holidays. This gives us time to reflect on this past year and gear up for the challenges 2020 may hold. For me, I look back on this past year as a learning experience. Even though I have been heavily involved in PORAC as an association president and as IBT chairman, you never really know what to expect from a position until you are doing the job. The year was not absent of its challenges — none more prevalent than the legislative fight overuse of force. This was in addition to all the day-to-day issues that arise from operating an organization such as PORAC. With over 70,000 miles traveled this past year, it was truly challenging to be everywhere we are needed — most of all, home.

I spoke at Conference about the increased need for officer wellness and PORAC’s desire to provide membership with resources in this area. As I spend time with my family during the holidays, I try to focus on them but cannot help being preoccupied. I am troubled by the growing crisis in our first responder community with stress-related illness and suicide.

Peer support and wellness programs are a must in this environment. It’s not hard to see why there is such a need, with the constant bombardment of negativity thrown at law enforcement these days. Whether it’s on social media or in the mainstream media, there seems to be a strategy of character assassination of our profession. To make matters worse, many of our elected officials see this as an opportunity to attack us as well. It has encouraged an environment void of respect for law enforcement and, in some cases, has led to physical assaults on our officers. Is it any wonder that there is a need for wellness programs? PORAC has started to focus in this area with POWER Project training, which emphasizes wellness and resiliency. These classes are free and will be held in various areas throughout the state. Go to PORAC.org/training/porac-power-project/ for more info. Whether it is through training, the Fund a Hero program or connecting the membership with resources, PORAC will be committed to making an impact in this area.

President Marvel and Vice President Kurtz with Mountain View Police Department Deputy Chief Chris Hsiung

Politically, President Marvel and I will remain vigilant at the state Capitol with our lobbyist, Randy Perry. We know there will be bad legislation coming, and we will be prepared to do what we can to stop it. We will continue to push legislation to benefit the membership and be a strong voice for law enforcement. We need you and your associations to help us in this endeavor. Be engaged at the local level and force a dialogue with your elected officials.
Be active in your community and push forward a positive message.

The media may not want to focus on positive stories of our members doing good in the community, but we can. Use your social media to push back on the negativity and tag #porac so we can help. We know there is still tremendous support for us in the community, but they are the “silent majority.” We need to motivate them to be more vocal, especially at the ballot box. We can be effective in pushing back on this false narrative if we work together.

I would like to end this article with a thank-you to the membership. Thank you for your continued support for PORAC and for me personally. Thank you for your hard work and commitment to the profession and the communities you serve. I hope you all have a blessed Christmas with your families, and as always — stay safe out there! 

 

 

Vice President’s Message

Damon Kurtz
PORAC Vice President

As PORAC’s vice president, I am tasked with recruitment and retention. I often write about the positives of being a PORAC member, describing the benefits of our trusts: LDF, IBT and RMT. Another area where PORAC is truly effective is advocacy. I have mentioned this in previous articles, but it seems to be a topic that comes up often. It’s probably one of the most important roles we have in representing our member associations, and it is also one of the most misunderstood by individual members. When speaking of advocacy, we are talking about politics — which are so divisive in today’s society, and it is no different for our membership. As association leaders, we must represent our association and not our personal politics, which can be particularly difficult given the political climate. What I mean by this is that PORAC and your local association cannot be seen as Republican or Democrat. The goal of law enforcement labor has been to protect the benefits of our members, as well as to ensure safe working conditions for them. In the current environment, it is becoming increasingly challenging to do both. We often receive pressure from our members to support candidates or causes that may fit their personal politics but are counterintuitive to the overall goal of the organization. In many cases, there is a belief we should not be involved in politics at all. This is the reality of association leadership.

The reality is that politics are part of every facet of our lives. It starts at home with our family, lobbying for who sits where or who gets the last piece of cake. It carries over at work, lobbying for which assignment we get and so on. This is no different than the local association lobbying its agency or government for a better contract, or PORAC lobbying for or against legislation.

Advocacy is probably the single most important thing we do as association leaders, and it is overwhelmingly where President Marvel and I spend the most time and effort. You will often hear me say, “You are at the table or on the menu.” Advocacy is a nonstop job that doesn’t end at meeting with your elected officials. It is being involved at every level possible. Politics is about building relationships. An obvious place to start is with your relationships with elected officials, but the principle extends to other groups in your community. Who else influences your elected officials — other unions, the chamber of commerce, the Lincoln Club? Advocacy does not stop when the meeting is over; it carries over into our personal lives. It often continues after hours and on weekends, when we are with our families. It takes a lot of time and effort to develop the relationships and reputation necessary for an organization to be effective in its advocacy. It can take years to build and can be lost in the blink of an eye.

This is what makes PORAC’s efforts so successful: years of intensive advocacy and building relationships, with both elected officials and other groups. The hard work of current and past PORAC leaders and our representatives at Aaron Reed & Associates has ensured that we will have a strong voice in our Capitol. We will continue to work hard and represent you, but we need your help as well. Stay engaged with your local association and at the chapter level. Ask questions and make sure you are informed before you rush to judgment.

Vice President’s Message

Damon Kurtz
PORAC Vice President

As vice president, I focus much of my time on the recruitment and retention of our associations. One of the “perks” of the job is getting to talk to members about PORAC and the benefits of membership. In my time as an association leader and later in my involvement in PORAC, it was always comforting to know we had protections and benefits available to us. This is where the saying “membership has its privileges” holds true. When someone asks, “Why PORAC?” it’s an easy conversation. PORAC membership gives access to several benefits available exclusively to you as a member of PORAC. Whether its advocacy by the Board, health and disability with the IBT, legal defense with LDF or retiree medical with the RMT, we strive to provide the best possible benefits to our membership. Each of our trusts is managed by active officers elected by the membership. Our trustees and directors are working cops representing your issues and concerns — we are “cops protecting cops.”

Although there are other organizations out there, it’s my opinion that none of them can compare when it comes to the exclusive benefits we provide to our 922 associations. “Exclusivity” is one of the things that makes PORAC membership so valuable. For example, only PORAC members can receive benefits through each of the PORAC trusts, such as LDF. A benefit of LDF is that other than a few select independent organizations, only PORAC members have access to PORAC panel attorneys. Our attorneys are unmatched in their knowledge and experience when it comes to defending law enforcement. Having vetted, proven attorneys available to you is an invaluable asset for our members. If I were ever in need of an attorney, I couldn’t imagine having to do a Google search or check a Yelp review to find representation. Knowing that as a PORAC member you only need one phone number to get the best attorneys available should allow you to rest easy. I could give multiple examples of the exclusive benefits PORAC offers in each of our trusts. What I’m saying is that PORAC has you covered. No other organization can provide the same level of benefits, advocacy and representation from within to shape how these benefits are given.

Another big part of my role as VP is advocacy. Along with President Marvel, I attend several meetings and events to lobby on behalf of PORAC and public safety. Now that bills AB 392 and SB 230 have been signed by the governor, we will turn our focus to the federal level. The Executive Committee will travel to Washington, D.C., to lobby our representatives on issues facing law enforcement at the national level, such as violence against police officers. PORAC is in the process of developing a bill with Congressman Correa (SD34) that will provide a study on assaults on law enforcement officers. The goal is to identify trends and provide recommendations, such as staffing. Upon our return, we will focus our efforts toward the 67th Annual Conference of Members in Palm Springs. We hope to provide all of you with a memorable experience as we conduct needed year-end business for the membership. I hope to see you there; it’s a chance to catch up with old friends and make new ones. Take care and be safe!

Vice President’s Message

Damon Kurtz
PORAC Vice President

As we head toward the end of summer, President Marvel and I are staying concentrated on our efforts at the Capitol regarding legislation, specifically the use-of-force bills. AB 392 has passed through the Legislature after many amendments from its original form. We now remain focused on SB 230, which deals with policies and training, including funding to accomplish the training. We believe AB 392 in its present form codifies the Graham v. Connor standard. With the passage of these two bills, California will have the most extensive legislation on use of force.

Although this started as a negative, I believe that solidifying the use-of-force standard and bringing a minimum standard of training and policies to all agencies will help law enforcement be more effective going forward. This current legislation was a result of a lot of hard work and collaboration with many law enforcement groups across the state. Although we may have different memberships, we have a common bond of representing law enforcement. We are stronger together as the voice of law enforcement when we focus on the profession as a whole, rather than the individual issues of our respective associations. United we stand, divided we fall.

While Brian and I are focused on the Capitol, the PORAC staff is focused on the 67th annual Conference of Members. So much hard work by our staff goes into bringing events like this to the membership. Make sure you thank them when you see them at Conference. This year’s event will be held November 22–24 at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort. The Conference of Members is probably the single best networking opportunity for association leaders and members. It provides a venue to speak with attorneys, vendors and, most importantly, other association members. It’s an opportunity to seek insight and strategies for the current issues you may be dealing with at the local level.

For some, it’s an opportunity to share their experiences with others. I have often heard people say about an event or training, “I didn’t get much out of it.” If you are an experienced association leader, I ask you to look at it from the perspective of what you are giving to the event. Your experience and advice could be the best piece of information received by another member. This is what makes PORAC so unique — its diversity of membership. We have 922 associations spanning the entire state. Our associations represent police, sheriffs, custody, probation and many more specialty groups, like school police. The Conference of Members is where all the knowledge and experience gather in one place. We provide the venue, but you provide the experience, through not only what you get but also what you put into the event. I hope to see you there.

In the coming months, you will see a more focused PORAC when it comes to officer wellness. From speakers at this year’s Conference to upcoming training, we want PORAC to be a resource for our officers’ well-being. PORAC recently received a POST grant to focus on officer wellness and will have more information on classes in the near future. Peer support and support for our law enforcement family is an integral part of what we do as association leaders. We at PORAC want to be a partner and a resource to our associations in building and maintaining peer support and officer wellness programs.

In the coming months, you will also see the implementation of PORAC’s online fundraising mechanism. This will offer associations a way to fundraise for their members who are in need of financial support. PORAC wants to provide a more cost-effective way to fundraise and limit fraud and abuse. As I’ve said before, it’s our goal to help our associations in the representation of all of our members. Thank you, and stay safe out there.

Vice President’s Message

Damon Kurtz
PORAC Vice President

With my first six months as your vice president in the books, I can say it has been both enjoyable and very challenging at the same time. It’s been a pleasure for me to meet with members around the state. I get to learn about each association, their respective challenges and their insights on issues directly related to PORAC. Obviously, the biggest challenge was stepping into the legislative battle regarding use of force with SB 230 and AB 392. Although I have always had an appreciation for how effective PORAC’s advocacy is, it was very enlightening to be part of it firsthand. As I have said in previous articles, there are some large associations in the state that do a fine job representing their members and their respective areas. But there is no other law enforcement organization that is as effective as PORAC when it comes to advocacy efforts. It’s the collective voice of our members that makes us so effective. Having associations small and large across the state, impacting every legislative district, gives us a tremendous voice when it comes to issues affecting law enforcement. I am truly humbled that I get to be a part of this and that you, the members, have shown faith in me and allowed me to represent you. For President Marvel and me, it’s not something we take for granted.

As we head into summer and the end of a very busy legislative fight regarding use of force, here at PORAC we turn our focus to the annual Conference. Every year, PORAC strives to provide the membership with quality training geared toward helping our member associations be successful. From classes such as Collective Bargaining, Internal Affairs and Association Leadership to our annual Symposium, it all culminates at the annual Conference. This event gives us an opportunity to meet with the membership and recap the previous year. It allows us to look at the organization’s successes and where we need improvement. It’s where the leadership of PORAC is installed and where the membership gives us the necessary feedback. As an association leader, Conference was where I made some of the most important contacts that helped me. Networking with association leaders across the state was invaluable to me. No matter the issue that may have come up in my association, there was always someone who had similar experiences with the same issues. The ability to draw upon those experiences to help navigate the challenges that come with being an association leader was something that I always looked forward to.

This year marks the 67th Annual Conference of Members, which will be held on November 22–24 at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa. It’s always the goal of PORAC to provide the Conference attendees with quality training on top of the annual reports and required business. It’s also a goal to provide a location that is desirable for the members to attend. This year’s location will not disappoint — the resort is truly beautiful. Hopefully, it will provide a balance of needed relaxation in between the important updates given during the general session. I hope to see you there. In the meantime, take care and be safe.

Vice President’s Message

Damon Kurtz
PORAC Vice President

As association leaders, we often focus our efforts on contract negotiations and issues related to them, such as pay and benefits, and that’s for good reason. Our members elect us to represent them and to negotiate on their behalf for the best possible pay and benefits. The demands put upon us can often feel unobtainable, and the pressure we impose on ourselves to provide successful contracts can take its toll. The pressures we feel are put into perspective every year when we honor our fallen officers during the California Peace Officers’ Memorial Ceremony.

As we stand at attention and salute the loved ones of the fallen officers, it puts things in perspective and reminds me of the real reason why our associations exist. The vast majority of associations were created to be widows and orphans organizations to support the families of our fallen officers. These memorial ceremonies are a somber reminder of the dangerous profession in which we were all called to serve. It is difficult to control our emotions. We not only feel for the fallen officers and their families, but we empathize with them as well, seeing the faces of our own families as we pay tribute to the fallen and their survivors. There is an often-repeated saying, “The officer carries the badge, but the family carries the weight.”

It’s a sad reality for the law enforcement profession today that there has been a paradigm shift in how we are portrayed by the mainstream media and by our elected officials. There is a false narrative that law enforcement is a rogue element of government with an epidemic of use-of-force incidents. For those of us in the profession, we know that we are among the most scrutinized professions in the world. Very few professions operate under the same amount of oversight as law enforcement. However, officers do not shy away from this scrutiny or oversight. The only caveat is we welcome that scrutiny so long as we are not being measured by an impossible standard. During this year’s CPOMF Ceremony, Newman Police Chief Randy Richardson referenced the state legislators when he said, “California’s ‘outrageous’ policies are making officers’ jobs more difficult.” He believes it will cost more lives like Corporal Ronil Singh. I wholeheartedly agree with him.

PORAC has brought forward a statewide effort to battle such policies and legislation. Although many of our individual associations have a strong voice in their respective areas of the state, it’s our collective, unified voice that allows us to be heard loud and clear by lawmakers. For me, I truly appreciate the ability to draw on the knowledge and experience our member associations bring to the table. The challenge with any collective is managing our individual goals from that of the group. Many times, as association leaders, we want to highlight the importance of our individual organizations. The reality is, every one of our associations is important to their respective members and we should represent them with pride. As a federation of individual associations, we should also take equal pride in our collective voice — “United we stand, divided we fall.”

It is my and President Marvel’s goal to make sure PORAC is effective in its advocacy and that our member associations are provided the benefits they need to succeed. We will continue to provide the best training possible to assist our members in leading their associations. This year, we are developing training focused on officer wellness, something that is often overlooked. Later this year, we will unveil a PORAC crowdfunding mechanism similar to GoFundMe and other online fundraising programs. PORAC will provide a way to vet charitable causes and allow for the use of PORAC’s statewide presence to boost individual associations in their efforts to assist officers in need. It is our hope that providing the best quality benefits and training will allow the members and their associations to focus on what’s most important — the members themselves and their families.

As always, if you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact President Marvel or me. Thank you and stay safe out there.

Vice President’s Message

Damon Kurtz
PORAC Vice President

Why PORAC?

My primary role as PORAC vice president is to recruit and retain members. Often, I am asked, “What are the benefits of PORAC?” I think the No. 1 thing I point out is, “PORAC is cops looking out for cops,” or as Past President, Ron Cottingham always said, “PORAC has your six.”  With our membership at over 75,000 now, we bring a strong voice to issues here in the state as well as nationally. It’s because of our diverse membership that we are able to give a voice to the issues of the smallest associations with fewer than 10 officers to the large associations with more than 1,000. The resources we provide for our membership are simply the best.  Because we are made up of working officers, we are always striving to offer a better benefit to our members. Whether it’s providing legal defense through the PORAC Legal Defense Fund Trust (LDF), disability or medical insurance through the Insurance and Benefits Trust (IBT), retiree medical savings through the Retiree Medical Trust (RMT) or providing additional retiree benefits through our Retired Associate Membership (RAM) program, we provide benefits that are second to none.

It’s easy to point out the programs and the benefits but where I think PORAC really shines is the ability to provide learning and networking opportunities to the members. Whether it’s at a specific training class or at a larger function like the PORAC Conference of Members, PORAC provides a venue where association leaders can discuss issues specific to their organizations and issues related to all of law enforcement. Bottom line: PORAC tries to provide every association with the resources to be successful. The only thing that gets in our way sometimes is our own egos. We tend to have strong egos in our profession and we are often unwilling to deviate from our belief that we can do it better than everyone else in the room. But we should take a step back and recognize we are all leaders in our own way with something to offer. There’s an old saying, “United we stand, divided we fall.” PORAC stands united with our member associations from small to large, ready to defend our chosen profession.

As I write this article, we are preparing for our annual legislative day here in Sacramento on May 7. Every year in conjunction with the California Peace Officers’ Memorial ceremonies, we follow up with our legislators on issues related to law enforcement. For those who are paying attention, we will hit the capitol with our message regarding the current proposed legislation on use of force. AB 392, authored by Assemblymember Shirley Weber, is a dangerous bill that does nothing to promote better outcomes. It only seeks a higher standard as it relates to deadly force in order to provide a pathway to prosecute law enforcement. Conversely, SB 230 —  authored by Senator Anna M. Caballero and sponsored by PORAC — has reasonable amendments to the laws regarding use of force by bringing the language up to current legal standards and requiring all agencies to have minimum requirements in their prospective agency policies/procedure manual. You can help us by speaking to your local elected officials and state representatives about these two bills. Tell them they need to support SB 230 and oppose AB 392. Here is a link to email your state representatives: www.porac.org/sb230.

As always, if you have questions or concerns, we are here to represent you, so feel free to contact President Marvel or me. Thank you and be safe out there!

Vice President’s Message

Damon Kurtz
PORAC Vice President

SB 230 and How You Can Help

If you are starting to notice a little redundancy in our articles regarding the debate between SB 230 and AB 392, we apologize. This issue dominates President Marvel’s life as well mine, and for good reason. We must commit our time and resources to this issue now more than ever. Currently, we are facing an unprecedented assault on the character of law enforcement. The mainstream media and our elected officials are doing their best to depict law enforcement as a callous establishment that shoots and kills persons of color without any accountability. This depiction of the men and women of law enforcement is extremely offensive to those who have served and continue to serve the profession with honor and integrity. This depiction couldn’t be further from the truth, but the truth doesn’t seem to matter anymore. The reality is that you have a greater chance of dying in a house fire or on an operating table than you do being shot by a police officer. If you follow the commands of the officer, your chances of being shot become almost zero. For whatever reason, the mainstream media and our elected officials have chosen to make law enforcement the enemy and make martyrs out of those who prey on our society. We are the thin blue line that stands between the public and those who prey on our communities. I fear the day when there are so few of us left to do the job that we are unable to keep our communities safe. If AB 392 passes as written, that day would be all but a foregone conclusion.

If we haven’t driven the point home, it’s time for you to get involved. We know from our everyday interactions with the general public that we have their support. Unfortunately, this isn’t being conveyed to the elected officials. We need you at the local level to help defeat AB 392 and support SB 230. PORAC recently sent out a digital activation alert that includes an FAQ and a link (www.porac.org/sb230) to send a letter of support for SB 230 to your representatives here in Sacramento. We need you to help get the general public’s support and encourage them to reach out to their representatives. The representatives in Sacramento must hear our supporters just as loud as those who hate us. We need you to meet with your local elected officials and garner support in the city and county governments. If possible, get them to make a resolution in support of SB 230. AB 392 only lays the financial burden and civil liability back on the local governments. Build coalitions with other groups outside of law enforcement, such as the building trades or your local chambers of commerce. Use your social media platforms to push out positive messages and generate support for SB 230. If possible, put together lobbying trips to meet with your representatives in Sacramento or in their district offices.  

If AB 392 passes, our law enforcement officers will no longer be judged by what a “reasonable officer” would have done in a similar situation. In the new standard, officers will be judged by information not known to them at the time of the incident and will be criminally prosecuted if their actions are deemed not necessary. I know most people are typically apathetic to politics and generally don’t pay too much attention until something is passed or it’s time to vote. We can’t wait for this to happen. We need a true grassroots effort to defeat AB 392 and to push back on the narrative that negatively depicts law enforcement. It’s time to rally the troops and fight back against this false narrative.

Thanks for reading, and stay safe out there!  

 

Vice President’s Message

Damon Kurtz
PORAC Vice President

SB 230 and Advocacy

With the recent legislative activity regarding criminal justice reform at the state capitol and in Washington, D.C., I think it’s important to discuss advocacy and what that means. Every year, whether it’s at the local POA, DSA or here at PORAC, we as association leaders advocate for our members. This often means meeting with our elected officials and lobbying on your behalf to push through legislation we want or to kill legislation we don’t. We meet with all our elected representatives regardless of how we may personally feel about them. It is our responsibility to advocate for the membership and it takes numerous meetings and much persistence to succeed. Gone are the days when we could simply say this issue supports public safety and we would get the support we needed. 

Scrutiny and negative opinions of law enforcement have grown in recent years. Social justice organizations with a dislike for law enforcement have strong lobbying efforts here at the capitol. In 2018, the American Civil Liberties Union was the No. 2 contributor to political campaigns; only big oil spent more money. We recognize that if we refuse to speak to our elected officials, we ensure that our voice will not be heard. Think about it this way, if we don’t speak to them, how can we get them to understand our issues and ultimately agree with us? By ignoring our elected officials, we would only make it easier for them to vote against us. The saying “You are either at the table or on the menu” has never been more accurate.   

Politics can be extremely divisive among our members. We tend to cling to a political party and our views of any particular elected official has more to do with the party affiliation letter behind the name rather than what he or she has done.  As elected representatives of PORAC, we cannot take a partisan approach to our mission because our issues in law enforcement are not partisan. My personal politics do not influence who or what I advocate for. I advocate for the good of the membership. These issues are thoroughly vetted with our Board members, who represent law enforcement across the state of California.

This year, one of our focal points will be use of force. In 2018, California law enforcement saw an unprecedented number of bills that were anti-law enforcement in nature. The worst was AB 931, which sought to limit the ability of law enforcement to use deadly force and to make officers criminally liable in those instances where it was used. It would have changed the standard applied by the U.S. Supreme Court in Graham v. Connor.  A similar bill, AB 392, has been introduced this year. This was no surprise to PORAC. We, along with a coalition of other law enforcement advocates, have developed legislation that addresses the issues that face law enforcement today. PORAC and our coalition partners have developed a comprehensive bill to address use of force and its causes: SB 230. Read the entire bill at www.porac.org/2019/02/porac-use-of-force-legislation-bill-language.

We cannot put all of society’s pressures onto law enforcement and expect that we have all the answers. We cannot truly address the issues surrounding use of force without addressing the events that led up to that use of force. Many of these incidents involve mental illness and substance abuse. SB 230 will address many of these issues, from requiring use-of-force policies and training to making sure that law enforcement has the wraparound services and resources to deal with these situations. It is our hope that by developing strong training and providing the proper resources, violent confrontations will have a peaceful outcome. 

This brings it back to advocacy. If we are to succeed in passing SB 230, we will all have to be strong advocates. We need all our members in law enforcement to help educate the public on the issues. Reach out to your elected representatives and let them know how they can support law enforcement. Let them know that backing SB 230 is how they can help.

Vice President’s Message

Damon Kurtz
PORAC Vice President

One of the major benefits of PORAC membership is the ability to connect to other associations and network with colleagues on the challenges we face in law enforcement labor. Whether it’s at the bargaining table or in the political arena, having a group of our peers who can share experiences to help us with our own individual and association challenges is invaluable. PORAC strives to offer multiple opportunities for our members to meet and exchange information. From monthly local chapter meetings to our many training classes throughout the year to the annual Conference of Members, our goal is to make sure you have the tools you need to be successful. One of the best opportunities we provide in this area is the yearly PORAC Symposium, which is rapidly approaching.

The 2019 Symposium will be held at the Monterey Marriott April 9–10 (Tuesday and Wednesday). As always, we’ll present speakers and training opportunities designed to help you increase your knowledge about the pressing issues that affect our members now, as well as those that may loom in the future. This year’s event is focused on the theme of officer safety and wellness, a topic that seems particularly crucial as we mourn the deaths of 10 law enforcement officers nationwide within the first four weeks of January — five killed by gunfire, three struck by cars and two from heart attacks. This represents a huge increase in line-of-duty deaths compared to the same period in 2018 and a grim start to the new year. From ambush killings and traffic accidents to cardiovascular issues and PTSD, there are many physical and emotional threats facing our profession right now, and our training sessions will explore a variety of these issues as well as how we can best protect ourselves and others.

In addition to gaining knowledge from the experts, Symposium attendees will get to connect socially with their fellow members from around the state. PORAC is sponsoring a networking session for professional development on Tuesday evening, a great chance to catch up with old friends and make new ones while swapping stories and tips. These events truly demonstrate the beauty of PORAC — that there is strength in numbers when we join together for a common cause and share what we’ve learned with one another.

And what better way to achieve this than on a visit to the beautiful Central Coast of California? Especially if you haven’t experienced a Symposium before, I encourage you to join us this April. Even if your association can’t send a large contingent, it can be highly beneficial to have at least one representative participate and bring back what they’ve learned to share with the rest of your members and colleagues. Online registration is now open and it looks likely to be another sold-out event, so go to PORAC.org/events/symposium to sign up before our special room rate expires on March 15. I hope to see you in Monterey!