2018 66th Annual PORAC Conference of Members

66th Annual PORAC Conference of Members

Member participation and change were the themes of the 66th Annual Conference of Members at Atlantis Casino Resort and Spa in Reno, Nevada. Nearly 700 people registered for the November 15 to 18 Conference, which was hosted by Region IV Co-Chairs Tony Bolanos of Ontario Police Officers Association and Jesus Montana of San Diego Schools Police Officers Association. Twin blazes in Northern and Southern California likely reduced actual attendance. “We’re going to miss those guys, but they’re doing the lifesaving work that we all signed up for,” President Brian Marvel said.

Members check in with the Credentials Committee so that they can take part in the election for PORAC treasurer.

Change was evident immediately at registration check-in. Registrants collected their electronic badges by calling a phone number, which activated a printer that instantaneously produced their personalized Conference badge. Attendees then presented the badges to PORAC staff to get their Conference materials. (The company in charge of these badges, Active Event Technology, Marvel later noted, was based in Paradise, California, which was virtually destroyed in the Camp Fire. Despite losing everything, the company still came to the Conference to make sure registration went smoothly.)

Friday, November 16, General Session

President Marvel called the session to order, with the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard posting the colors. The names of the officers who died in the line of duty this year were read aloud and a moment of silence was observed. Chaplain Chuck Price gave the invocation.

PORAC Director Peter Durfee of the North Valley Chapter spoke of the Camp and Woolsey fires that killed dozens of people and ravaged thousands of properties. Many of his members lost their homes, Durfee said, and he urged members to contribute to the North Valley Community Foundation’s Camp Fire Relief Fund.

Welcome Address: Pat Withrow, San Joaquin County sheriff-elect, encouraged PORAC members to get involved. “The biggest threat to officer safety is politics. We need to do a better job of teaching people why these laws [against peace officers] aren’t good for people,” he said.

Election of Vice President: Damon Kurtz was elected vice president by acclamation.

Approval of Minutes: The minutes from last year’s Conference were approved.

Tammy Monego, secretary of the California Peace Officers’ Memorial Foundation, spoke about the foundation’s importance.

California Peace Officers’ Memorial Foundation Report: Secretary Tammy Monego explained what the foundation is and how helpful it was when her husband died in the line of duty 20 years ago, leaving her to raise their son alone. She called upon chapter presidents to donate to the foundation, which also funds the annual Peace Officers’ Memorial Ceremony and maintains the monument in Sacramento. Monego discussed Drive to Remember, a campaign in which, if enough people express interest, the California Department of Motor Vehicles will issue specialty license plates to honor peace officers. Visit drivetoremember.org for more information.

POST Report: Executive Director Manny Alvarez said the Office of Administrative Law is reviewing the removal of the word “routine” in language about perishable skills and a plan to regionalize and localize training. POST is working with the Department of Justice on how to implement SB 978, which requires law enforcement agencies to release public records or post them on their websites. Next year, POST plans to offer online courses in areas such as human trafficking, racial profiling, de-escalation, and suicide callers and crisis. POST also is trying to get legislation changed so that police academies can offer rifle training to recruits and cadets. The state Assembly in June gave $25 million for de-escalation training and gear. POST also received $5 million for crisis intervention training and $5 million for innovation grants for nonprofits, community organizations, agencies, departments and associations like PORAC to provide training. The grants need to be in any of the following areas: implicit bias, use of force and de-escalation, cultural diversity, community policing and officer wellness. Alvarez is pleased about officer wellness, something POST had been unable to get money for.

President Brian Marvel characterized his first year as “quite a year to get my teeth cut.”

President’s Report: President Marvel observed that his first presidential year was “quite a year to get my teeth cut.” He said the legislative battle to keep AB 931, 1421 and 748 from moving forward “were the roughest two weeks of my life,” when he put in 16-hour days at the Capitol. He credited his 20-year relationship with the speaker of the Senate, Toni Atkins, as being instrumental in giving “us some breathing room.” (AB 931 was eventually held.)

Marvel’s goals for 2019 include localization. “Association leaders need to step up and get our members active. The 70,000 voices of PORAC have to come together and start holding these elected officials accountable,” he said. Another “big push” is to get 8,000 retirees in RAM to get involved. “I need your members to write letters. Say, ‘I vote, I live in your district. I’m watching you on public safety.’”

PORAC will start implementing report cards on officials; no longer will it give political endorsements and funds carte blanche, Marvel said. “It’s been far too long where we’ve just gone on to get along.”

The organization will join a law enforcement coalition to better understand the needs of the communities it serves. Part of that will be research, and PORAC started by conducting three focus groups. In addition, communications that had been performed by Marketplace Communications will be brought in-house so that PORAC can be more nimble and respond accordingly.

He thanked PORAC staff for their hard work and outgoing Vice President Brent Meyer for his long service and fantastic work for PORAC.

Vice President’s Report: Vice President Meyer thanked the PORAC staff for their service. He also commended Marvel for looking forward and looking out for members’ best interests.

Meyer exhorted members to become more involved: “We’re constantly trying to tell lawmakers what we do. It’s an uphill battle. Reach out to your local electeds. They don’t hear enough from you at the local level, from members coming in and telling them their stories and holding [the officials] accountable. It would help us a lot more if you would call them up and constantly be a little bug in their ear.”

PORAC’s national influence is growing. Membership peaked at 70,595 members in 2018, the highest he said he’s ever seen. Twenty-six associations have joined since the 2017 Conference. As the outgoing vice president said, in terms of statewide representation, “there’s nobody who even comes close” to PORAC.

Treasurer’s Report: PORAC’s investments have done extremely well, Treasurer Marcelo Blanco said. Investments have gone up 120% since PORAC began working with Mark Sikorski of UBS Financial. “We started at $2.5 million. Today, we’re nearing $6 million in our reserves, and that doesn’t take into account $4.2 million that we have for pension funds alone.”

The audit went well. The lack of oversight over chapter funds troubled the auditors, so the treasurer and chapter presidents will receive training early next year on how to keep track of that money. Blanco suggested that chapters reinvest it in members by sending them to Conference, Symposium or training.

Another issue was the security of the PIC and PAC fund. “We continue to monitor that, to come up with ways to make that more secure,” he said.

The PORAC office now has a camera and security system. Why? “We represent 70,000 officers in the state. We have two at headquarters. We have to make sure that all our employees feel safe in the building that they’re in. People read we represent cops. If they go to the office, they think they’re going to find cops. And they’re not. They’ll find staff.”

Budget Report: Treasurer Blanco also reviewed budget items such as revenue, expenses and executive overhead. With revenue of nearly $4 million, PORAC is a multimillion-dollar corporation, he said — “We’re not small potatoes.”

He took questions from members, including one about CalPERS. Members are concerned about what CalPERS is doing, mainly in the area of divestments, Blanco said. A monitor has been hired to provide a report and PORAC now has a member on CalPERS.

Investments: Mark Sikorski of UBS Financial Services reported that PORAC has $11.7 million in funds. Accounts finished up 19.04% in 2017. As of the Conference date, accounts were down 0.25%. The pension fund is making 2.4%. He expects continued volatility in the market.

Bylaws Presentation: Secretary Randy Beintema presented the proposed Bylaw amendments that would be up for a vote the next day. They involved: 1. Moving border patrol supervisors from active to limited but maintaining their access to LDF benefits; 2. Moving federal officers from Article II (membership) to Article XI (LDF Trust) and maintaining their participation in LDF; 3. Regional members of the Executive Committee, the LDF Trust, RMT Trust and Insurance & Benefits Trust being elected for two-year terms by a majority of the votes cast by eligible active members; 4 and 5: The PORAC president appointing the chairs of committees, such as Scholarship and RMT; 6. The president forming a Communications and Technology Committee, which will be a standing budget item every year now.

 Training
Two POST-certified sessions were offered at Conference. In “Force Dynamics of a Force Encounter,” William J. Lewinski, Ph.D., of Force Science Institute discussed the science behind shootings. The next day, Ronald G. DeLord gave “A Wakeup Call to Police Union Leaders: A Paradigm Shift Has Brought a New Reality.” Both classes were well attended, and, in another example of electronic streamlining, members were able to text a phone number given out during the sessions to receive attendance credit. 
 

Saturday, November 17, General Session

Secretary Randy Beintema oversaw the election for PORAC treasurer, which Timothy Davis won.

The Bylaw amendments presented the previous day were adopted.

Election of Treasurer: Timothy Davis of Sacramento POA unseated incumbent Marcelo Blanco, 18,955 to 16,546. Davis, who said he’s “humbled and honored” by the vote, led a standing ovation applauding Blanco’s years of service.

Legislative Report: Darryl Nirenberg of Steptoe & Johnson said that PORAC has undertaken six initiatives to improve its access to members of Congress and increase its ability to influence federal policy. These include the development of scorecards to assess state congressional members and questionnaires to give to each congressional candidate in 2020. Nirenberg highlighted PORAC’s accomplishments, including the passage of eight PORAC-backed bills and the enactment of the Justice Served Act. He also talked about the value of fly-ins. They matter, he said, because they underscore for policymakers the importance of issues. After all, if someone takes the time to travel from California to Washington, D.C., it shows lawmakers that the issue is serious.

Looking ahead, Democrats’ control of the House will create volatility and opportunity, he said. There’s also a new leadership in the Senate judiciary committee. He noted that PORAC has an excellent relationship with Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the committee.

Marketplace Communications Report: Social media and digital media were among the big changes this year, said Michele Cervone. To take on the American Civil Liberties Union and Black Lives Matter, Marketplace ramped up PORAC’s presence on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, a footprint that President Marvel wanted to enlarge. “Instagram is a positive place for officers to share interactions with the public and community,” she said. In addition, Marketplace also launched PORAC podcasts in May.

Aaron Read & Associates lobbyist Pat Moran reported that, at Marvel’s request, he has created for Marketplace In Memoriam videos for officers’ 10-year EOW anniversaries to remember their sacrifices.

Randy Perry, legislative advocate at Aaron Read, talked about AB 931, which sought to change the use of force from “reasonable” to “necessary.”

The American Civil Liberties Union, once “a quiet organization” with only two lobbyists, is now a powerhouse. This year, the ACLU spent over $4 million alone on lobbying in California, Perry pointed out. “We had to change up our game. It wasn’t just only lobbying. We had to get into social media ourselves,” he continued.

Digital media consisted of awareness ads, Cervone said. This included dropping geopins around the Capitol. Anytime anyone entered the Capitol, the message “Vote no on AB 931” popped up on their phone, Perry said. This effort was expanded to the district offices of targeted Democratic senators. The campaign delivered 353,495 impressions in 10 days, Cervone reported.

LDF Report: Chairman Fred Rowbotham reported election results for the Board of Trustees. DJ Wozniak was re-elected as the Region I trustee. Rowbotham thanked Dustin Smith, who chose not to run for re-election, for his four years of service. Todd Fraizer from Fresno will take over Region II. Chris Coulter (Region III) serves as vice chair, Rowbotham (Region IV) is chairman and Barry Donelan is the PORAC Board appointee.

Membership continues to grow in what is the largest conglomeration of police unions in the country, with 1,296 associations and 128,555 participants. Thirty million dollars are available for member benefits, and $150 million-plus was paid out in benefits in 2017.

The number of active murder/manslaughter cases has dropped from 11 in the past several years to eight, he said. In addition, the results show that the tide may be turning in favor of law enforcement. “We’re getting not guiltys and hung juries. We’re getting a lot of retrials on those not guiltys,” the chairman said.

Insurance and Benefits Trust Report: Chairman Joey Schlemmer reported that Bill Daniels from Region III is retiring after serving eight years on the Trust. Roger Garcia is taking his place. With his new vice presidential post, Damon Kurtz will remain on the IBT Board but has stepped down as Region II trustee and as the chair. He is replaced by Israel Reyes. Schlemmer thanked Brent Meyer for his work on the Trust.

Highlights of the year include PORAC’s first year of enrollment under an Administrative-Services Only agreement (ASO) with Anthem Blue Cross. This resulted in an average cost savings of $700 per member. The Trust is considering whether to take on an ASO role with Medicare portion of health and a pharmacy benefit manager agreement, which could lead to cost savings for prescription medicines.

Treasurer Marcelo Blanco urged attendees to help Camp Fire first responders. In 20 minutes, $13,000 was raised.

Currently, 22,000 members are enrolled in longtime disability with Myers-Stevens & Toohey. There is $20 million in reserves to cover existing open claims.

California Casualty takes the wildfires personally, Schlemmer said. It does proactive outreach to make sure PORAC members are safe and taking care of their welfare. Claim adjusters will be on the ground in late November to care for those who are affected.

Retiree Medical Trust Report: Chairman Terry Moore reported that Treasurer Timothy Davis is one of the trustees, and Moore hopes that President Marvel will let Davis stay. The Region I position is open.

A merger with the City of Orange police association was just completed, he said.

Membership is now available to out-of-state agencies, and Salem Police in Oregon has signed up.

To encourage membership growth, the trustees agreed to a new plan allowing groups that have trouble paying the minimum $100 a month to start monthly payments at $50 and transition to $100 after one year. In addition, an amendment is being drafted to allow monthly increases in $25, rather than $50, increments.

RMT, courtesy of 911MEDIA, now has a new website, www.poracrmt.org, that’s colorful and easy to navigate, he said. Members can access their accounts online.

“Regions I and III will be up for elections next year. We’d be glad to have competition for a seat,” Moore said.

CalPERS Report: Jason Perez, who represents law enforcement on the board, gave an example of how it’s helpful to have a cop watching out for officers’ retirements. To help the family of the Gardena Police officer killed in a recent motorcycle crash on his way to work, Perez stepped in and made some timely calls before life support for the officer was discontinued. Instead of the officer’s widow getting a lump sum, she is assured lifetime benefits because they were able to get him an industrial medical retirement, he said.

Beginning December 5, the state Supreme Court will hear “one of five arguments for rules on our pensions,” which could potentially roll back the California Rule.

Sunday, November 18, General Session

RAM Report: Mike Cavallero, Region II representative, spoke on behalf of Chairman Bob Valladon and the committee. He urged leaders to remind their retired members to stay involved with PORAC and keep up with what’s going on by joining RAM.

SPAC Report: Chairman P.J. Webb reported that SPAC is working on setting an agenda for next year and legislative items that it’s going to try to push through.

Scholarship Committee: Chairman Randy Beintema said the filing period is now December 1 to March 1, to allow committee members more time to review the applications. The application is now available at PORAC.org and applications are due by March 1.

With no other business, President Marvel adjourned the session, concluding another eventful Conference of Members.


Saturday Installation Dinner

Marvel thanks Meyer with a gift “for the man cave.”

President Marvel thanked and lauded Vice President Meyer for being “super responsive to the members” during his terms. As a going-away gift, he presented Meyer with a wooden sign inscribed “Brent Meyer, PORAC Vice President 2013–2018” and signed on the back by the staff. “The reason we do these jobs is for the guy on the streets,” said Meyer. “When I first started, [Former L.A. North Chapter Director and Region III Executive Committee Member] Joe Flanagan said when you do this job, to do it effectively, you’ve got to think about the guy on graveyard pushing the patrol car because that’s who we’re here for. That stuck with me. Every time I did stuff and try to advocate and represent PORAC, it was with that guy in mind.” Unlike most PORAC presidents and vice presidents who retire and go on to their next life, Meyer said he’ll be returning to patrol in Sacramento. “I’m going to be that guy — not on graveyard, thankfully — pushing that patrol car. I only ask that you continue to advocate for that cop at PORAC.” Bob Bonsall, PORAC corporate counsel, swore in all the directors, trustees and the new Board. With that completed, it was time to relax with “Love Master”Craig Shoemaker. The comedian quickly had the audience laughing with his routine.  

Distinguished Service

Eugene CerboneBill Daniels
Phil JonasDamon Kurtz
Tom MathenyBrent Meyer
Gary MooreJacky Parks
Glen RobbinsRick Walker
Incoming and outgoing executive officers: Damon Kurtz, Marcelo Blanco, Brent Meyer, Brian Marvel, Randy Beintema and Timothy Davis
Comedian Craig Shoemaker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Sunday, November 18, General Session

RAM Report: Mike Cavallero, Region II representative, spoke on behalf of Chairman Bob Valladon and the committee. He urged leaders to remind their retired members to stay involved with PORAC and keep up with what’s going on by joining RAM.

SPAC Report: Chairman P.J. Webb reported that SPAC is working on setting an agenda for next year and legislative items that it’s going to try to push through.

Scholarship Committee: Chairman Randy Beintema said the filing period is now December 1 to March 1, to allow committee members more time to review the applications. The application is now available at PORAC.org and applications are due by March 1.

With no other business, President Marvel adjourned the session, concluding another eventful Conference of Members.

Photos by Chris Steele

2018 PORAC Conference Training Speakers Announced

The 2018 PORAC Conference Training Speakers

Dr. William J. Lewinski, Ph.D.

Dr. Lewinski is one of the world’s leading behavioral scientists whose work has focused primarily on the intensive study of the human dynamics involved in high stress, life-threatening encounters. He has a Ph.D. in Police Psychology and is a professor emeritus of Law Enforcement at Minnesota State University, Mankato, where he taught for more than 28 years, and he now serves as the executive director of the Force Science® Institute which is a research, consulting and training organization focused primarily on human behavior in use-of-force situations.

Dr. Lewinski’s research has looked at subject and officer movement in lethal force encounters, action/reaction parameters, perception and memory.  His groundbreaking findings have been presented at peer-reviewed conferences in psychology, criminal justice and engineering and they have been widely published in national law enforcement publications.

Dr. Lewinski is an extremely popular speaker and consultant who has presented to and worked with a diverse span of groups, including major international groups including the British House of Commons and House of Lords to the London Metropolitan Police, New Scotland Yard, and the Police Service of Northern Ireland, as well as domestically to a wide range of federal, state and local law enforcement organizations.

 

Ronald G. DeLord, PLLC

Ron DeLord was elected in 1977 to the first of ten three-year terms as president of the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas (CLEAT), representing 20,000 members. He later served as executive director and special counsel to the executive director at CLEAT from 2008 to 2013. Prior to joining CLEAT, DeLord served as a police officer for the Beaumont (Texas) Police Department from 1969 to 1971 and the Mesquite (Texas) Police Department from 1971 to 1978.

DeLord attended the ten-week Harvard University Trade Union Program, in Cambridge in 1992. He received a B.S. degree in Government from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas in 1971; an M.A. degree in Police Science and Administration from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas in 1982; and a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from the South Texas College of Law in Houston in 1986. He has been a licensed Texas attorney since 1987.

DeLord is a guest faculty member at the Harvard Trade Union Program and the Police Union Leadership Seminar sponsored by the Labor and Worklife Program at the Harvard Law School. He has also served as a lecturer for the Police Labor-Management Executive Leadership Programs sponsored by the School of Labor and Industrial Relations and School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University. He conducts seminars and lectures throughout United States, Canada and Australia.

66th Annual Conference of Members – November 15-18, 2018 *Registration Info*

The 2018 PORAC Conference of Members is taking place at the Atlantis Resort Casino Spa in Reno. Registration and the Hotel Reservation web link will open July 2, 2018.

PORAC Room Rates

Atlantis Resort Casino Spa
Single/Double $89 per night
PORAC room rate expires- October 13, 2018
 
Note: Telephone reservations will NOT be accepted. You MUST be registered as an attendee to make a hotel reservation with the PORAC rate. The PORAC room rate web-link will be provided at the completion of registration.  All room rates are subject to applicable City of Reno occupancy taxes in effect at the time of check-in.  The $15 resort fee has been waived for the PORAC event.