CHAPTER PROFILE: TRI-COUNTIES CHAPTER

Coming Together to Serve

To help you learn more about where and who your fellow members are, in each issue of PORAC Law Enforcement News we’ll profile one of the 14 chapters up and down the state. We hope that reading about each 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 Tri-Counties Chapter.

Devastating and destructive events marred the latter part of 2018 for the Tri-Counties Chapter. On November 8, Ventura County Sheriff’s Sergeant Ron Helus was killed in the line of duty while responding to an active shooter incident at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks. Later that same day in nearby Simi Valley, the Woolsey Fire erupted and quickly spread to more than 96,000 acres, killing three people and destroying 1,600 structures before it was contained on November 21. Throughout December, heavy rain prompted flash flood warnings in areas affected by the fire. The onslaught of events had chapter members in Ventura County working around the clock during the holiday season to protect life and property.

Their effects were equally felt farther north, in neighboring Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. Members there gathered to honor Helus and to show their support for their hardworking brothers and sisters.

The Tri-Counties Chapter holds bimonthly chapter meetings at Harbor Restaurant in Santa Barbara

“We have come together a great many times in support of each other,” says Chapter President Marylinda Arroyo of the Santa Barbara Police Managers’ Association (SBPMA). “With the fires, floods and other significant events over the years, we’ve helped each other through it all, especially through the recent loss of our member Ron Helus.”

This banding together of members demonstrates the chapter’s resiliency and reflects how its leadership operates.

“It has definitely never been about an individual — it’s about all of us,” Arroyo says. “It’s about the team and the efforts of all those who are willing to give their time and energy” to better each association, the chapter and PORAC as a whole. 

This interaction among members is one of Arroyo’s favorite things about the chapter and PORAC.

“The networking and working alongside outstanding individuals who serve daily to protect the communities we all live and work in” is rewarding, she says.

The chapter’s leaders carry on the strong tradition of leadership that has been influential in many areas of PORAC throughout the years. PORAC leaders from the Tri-Counties include past PORAC President Mike Durant and past chapter director Michael McGrew. In addition, many members currently serve on the Executive Board: Anthony Sanders is the Region III Executive Committee Member and Director-at-Large for Ventura County DSA, Javier Antunez is Chapter Director, Treasurer Roger Garcia is on the Insurance and Benefits Trust board, and Chris Coulter is on the Legal Defense Fund board, representing Region III.

Region III Executive Committee Member Anthony Sanders and member Scott Peterson

The strong leadership and engagement from members have given the chapter a loud voice in both the political and legal realms. Notably, the chapter was instrumental in the landmark state Supreme Court case, Ventura County Deputy Sheriffs Association v. Board of Retirement, which raised the benefits for government employees’ retirements.

The chapter has also been involved in subsequent efforts made by the Ventura DSA and other associations for raises, health insurance and other benefits for peace officers.

When the chapter isn’t fighting litigation or dealing with other issues affecting law enforcement statewide, Arroyo says that chapter leadership focuses on helping members network and ensuring that members have up-to-date information about PORAC’s numerous benefits. This is achieved through bimonthly chapter meetings held in Santa Barbara that cover everything from the chapter’s expenses to PORAC’s legislative priorities and news from each county. For members who can’t make it to the meetings, the chapter posts detailed minutes and other announcements on its website at
www.tricountiesporac.net.

Treasurer Roger Garcia and Secretary and PORAC Director Javier Antunez

As a member of PORAC for 23 years, a member of the SBPMA for four years and a member of the SBPOA for over 20 years, Arroyo recognizes the important role that PORAC plays to support law enforcement.

“PORAC is based on empowering all peace officers and achieving common goals and objectives,” she says. “It’s about encouraging officers to have a voice to represent the interests of law enforcement and to make a positive difference in their communities.”

Leadership

President: Marylinda Arroyo
Vice President: Don Douglass (Ventura County)
Vice President: Neil Gowing (Santa Barbara County)
Vice President: Sonny Lopez (San Luis Obispo County)
Secretary & PORAC Director: Javier Antunez
Treasurer: Roger Garcia

Number of members

3,510

Coverage area

San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties

CHAPTER PROFILE: SOUTH SAN JOAQUIN

Bringing Members Together

To help you learn more about where and who your fellow members are, PORAC Law Enforcement News will regularly profile one of the 14 chapters up and down the state. We hope that reading about each 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 South San Joaquin Chapter.

The South San Joaquin Chapter represents law enforcement associations in some of the state’s most rural landscapes. With abundant access to rivers, mountains and forests, the people of Inyo, Kern and Tulare counties enjoy the comforts of city life and the adventure of the great outdoors.

But the area’s geography has presented the chapter with two enduring challenges: bringing together a membership of smaller law enforcement associations spread across great distances and overcoming physical barriers posed by the mountain ranges that separate the chapter from the greater PORAC membership.

Not long ago, the chapter was semi-dormant, with minimal structure and lack of member participation. For a time, it was even viewed as an extension of the Central California Chapter. The geographic inhibitors didn’t help. But under the leadership of Chapter President and PORAC Director Ryan Maxwell, the chapter has overcome issues of distance and rebuilt itself.

After becoming a PORAC director in 2014, Maxwell took the reins of the chapter along with Tim Caughron and Bryan Tenhet, the chapter’s two other directors-at-large. In 2017, Maxwell became president and began shaping the chapter into what it’s become today.

“The dynamic configuration of our chapter is … what makes us unique,” Maxwell says of the region’s geography and culture. “Being a part of law enforcement in the South San Joaquin Chapter is not and should not be described as 31 different law enforcement associations, but rather as a family of law enforcement. We are as close as family and I’m proud to be a part of it,” Maxwell says.

Maxwell says he worked very closely with Tenhet, who serves as the chapter’s vice president, to get the chapter back on its feet. “He was very instrumental in getting the chapter up and running,” Maxwell says. “He has a great devotion to law enforcement.” 

 

Chapter Vice President Bryan Tenhet congratulates William Diltz of Redwood High School on his $2,000 scholarship.

Thanks to their teamwork, in recent years, the chapter has successfully re-established connections with and among its membership by holding regularly scheduled meetings and becoming more active in PORAC. As a result, member participation has grown significantly, which Maxwell says is reflected in the chapter’s accomplishments.

 

In 2017 and 2018, the chapter proudly presented POREF scholarships to two deserving students in the region. “A search of winners from previous years revealed that there had not been a winner from our chapter” in nearly a decade, Maxwell says. “These were proud moments for us, and it shows membership participation.”

The POREF scholarship and other PORAC benefits, such as the Legal Defense Fund and Insurance Benefits and Trust, are just a few examples of the key important information discussed during chapter meetings, which Maxwell believes are the foundation to getting members engaged.

“Members should be involved because, first and foremost, this is their association!” he says. “Being involved and attending meetings allows members to get up-to-date information regarding issues that PORAC is working on for its members. It also allows them to see these things firsthand and see the importance of the association and how their dues money is working for them.”

For Maxwell, more engagement gives the chapter “a voice” and its members the opportunity to better connect with local law enforcement within the region and beyond. “The ability to work with outside law enforcement agencies has made it possible to learn from others as well as assist other agencies with issues as they arise,” he says.

Maxwell, who has been a PORAC member since 2011, says that he was elected to his leadership positions because of his interests in promoting the welfare of both the association and peace officers in general. “I am not afraid to speak my mind nor am I afraid to dig my heels in when I need to get the job done,” he says.

Asked what other PORAC members might be surprised to learn about the chapter, Maxwell says: “Southern hospitality isn’t just reserved for the southern states — it’s alive and well in the South San Joaquin Chapter.

“The atmosphere of our chapter is relaxed. If you show up [to a meeting] wearing a tie, we might cut it off of you, so wear a tie you don’t like,” he says. “Boots, jeans and a nice polo is the perfect attire, but just remember to knock the dirt off your boots at the door.

“Our chapter meeting doors are always open, and we extend an open invitation to any PORAC member who wants to attend our meetings,” he adds. “Just let us know you are coming and we will set you a place at the table.”

Leadership

President & Director: Ryan Maxwell
Vice President, Director-at-Large & PAC Rep: Bryan Tenhet
Treasurer: Jeremy Knoy
Secretary: Kevin Kimmel

Number of members

2,200

Coverage area

Inyo, Kern and Tulare counties