Unified Communication and Compassion
To help you learn more about where and who your fellow members are, in PORAC Law Enforcement News we’ll profile each of the 14 chapters up and down the state. We hope that reading about every chapter’s challenges and achievements will bring us all closer together and inspire you, your association and your own chapter as you navigate the road ahead. This month, we feature the Inland Chapter.
Unity is of the utmost importance to the Inland Chapter, whether that means being in sync internally about political issues or providing external support to those who need it. That unity is crucial in a vast chapter that encompasses the two largest counties in the United States, San Bernardino and Riverside, occupying more than 15% of California’s total geography. Key to this sense of solidarity are chapter meetings, where members are consistently informed about elected officials and their positions on public safety legislation. Chapter President Rich Randolph points out that this allows the chapter to be on the same page before politicians attend chapter meetings, regardless of whether the politician is from a state or local office.
Each meeting also includes “chapter homework,” in which all presidents or representatives from the chapter’s 60 member associations volunteer to complete a task for the greater good of the chapter. That can mean making calls to politicians about a particular bill, bringing current MOUs to the meeting so there are resources on file for anyone who goes into negotiations, or a variety of other helpful efforts.
Of course, there are still occasional differences that arise within the chapter, as there are anywhere else. But the unity of the members and the relationships they have built with one another mean they always come together in the end.
“Despite association sizes or members, everyone from small associations to the largest all come together,” Randolph says. “Some of the best conversations and debates I have had in my career have been during our chapter meetings.” That feeling of support has been consciously fostered by the Inland Chapter’s leadership, which sat down with its members and asked them what they wanted to see. They made adjustments to meetings based on the feedback they received, which has resulted in strong attendance and engagement.
“One thing I learned as POA president is you have to listen to your members,” Randolph says. “If they complain, listen and ask for suggestions. Your members, no matter the size of your association, are important. This philosophy is no different as a chief or as a chapter president.”
Randolph cites a specific example of a beneficial addition that highlights this level of communication: the Inland Chapter’s text alert system, which allows individual associations to spread the word about critical incidents, officers involved in traffic collisions, calls for union assistance or other issues impacting their members. “Instead of our association presidents reading a watered-down press release or incorrect news, the affected association president will directly text me information that they want to get out,” Randolph says. “This text then goes to every president and board member within the Inland Empire, including non-PORAC associations within our chapter area. This simple tool has brought us together during the darkest of times.”
The feeling of unity within the Inland Chapter extends to all their relationships. When incidents cross into multiple jurisdictions, Inland is always there to offer support. In the wake of tragedy and misfortune, that kind of support has spoken volumes. “We have rallied around each other after terrorist attacks, bankruptcies, leadership changes, political differences and so much more,” Randolph says. “These opportunities and those acts of unified compassion have helped make our chapter strong and special.”
The connections extend to other chapters of PORAC as well; for instance, Inland’s executive board agreed to start attending all the board meetings of their allied chapters within Southern California. A PORAC member for more than 16 years, Randolph believes it is vital that chapters can be relied upon to support one another, and he takes pride in knowing that the Inland Chapter is a strong partner that is always willing to help those who need it. “We are proud of the new PORAC leadership and welcome ongoing dialogue with our family in California,” Randolph says. “No matter where you are in the state of California, Inland Chapter is here to support all PORAC membership.”
The focus on support and compassion has led to the Inland Chapter being more unified than it has ever been. Plus, they have made an effort to make everyone feel welcome at meetings and make it an enjoyable experience. “When you come to an Inland Chapter meeting — no matter if you’re a presenter, vendor, attorney of an association — you are a part of the meeting,” Randolph says. “Like a good patrol sergeant, you make sure your troops have fun but get the job done. That’s the philosophy of our team.” Hopefully, the unity shown by the Inland Chapter can extend far and wide, keeping everyone informed and bringing about positive change.
“The roller-coaster California Assembly ride of changing laws and the attacks on law enforcement is real,” Randolph notes. “When I go to Washington, D.C., for Police Week and my brothers from other states are saying California law enforcement is hurting the country by not stopping these politicians from changing the laws, that angers me but it’s true. So when all the big associations came together on Assembly Bill 392 and other big challenges, I was so proud. These efforts at the Capitol are so important. This information isn’t seen in the news — it comes up at chapter meetings. Changes are happening so much, and by being involved and in the know, you can involve others within your respective associations.”
President: Rich Randolph
Vice President: Jason Polanco
Treasurer: Alex Raya
Secretary: Moe Duran
PORAC Director: Tony Bolanos
NUMBER OF MEMBERS
San Bernardino and Riverside Counties