CHAPTER PROFILE: LA SOUTH CHAPTER

Getting Members Politically Engaged

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 Los Angeles
South Chapter.

Political advocacy ranks high on the current agenda of the Los Angeles South Chapter, whose leadership prides itself on keeping members apprised of issues and news related to law enforcement and labor, candidate endorsements and more.

Most notably, the chapter has been galvanizing support for SB 230, the law enforcement–backed legislation that has been amended recently to focus solely on use-of-force training and policy guidelines. Chapter President Brandon Browning says he and other chapter leaders have been contacting legislators to help push the measure forward, and they’ve also been encouraging their 3,230 sworn and non-sworn members from 53 associations throughout southern Los Angeles County to do the same.

“Our role is to educate our member associations regarding the importance of PORAC and how providing support to political candidates and supporting, opposing or sponsoring legislation affects our families and careers,” says Browning, a 22-year PORAC member who also serves as the vice president of the El Segundo Police Officers’ Association.

This level of engagement from members helps ensure that the chapter and PORAC’s positions on state and local issues are recognized by elected officials and that leaders supportive of law enforcement get a seat at the table to advocate on behalf of peace officers.

Treasurer Joe Cameron, PORAC Director Marshall McClain, Vice President Cheryl Morris and President Brandon Browning

Browning says the chapter is particularly happy with the success rates of its endorsed candidates. Many of the judicial, Senate and Assembly candidates that the chapter has supported over the last few years won their respective elections and have since established a strong working relationship with the chapter. The chapter is currently vetting several candidate endorsements for the 2019 and 2020 congressional, judicial, district attorney and various other races.

These victories are in part the result of the chapter’s unique relationship with the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) and the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs (ALADS). Support from these two large and influential associations is vital when it comes to endorsing law enforcement–minded candidates and bringing public safety issues to public attention since the chapter represents many small associations that have 100 or fewer members. “It’s important that we work cooperatively with ALADS and LAPPL” to make members’ voices heard, Browning says.

In order to stay informed and engaged, chapter Vice President and 25-year PORAC member Cheryl Morris says members need to attend chapter meetings and activities. These meetings provide members with updated information on laws and proposed legislation that affect peace officers, as well as the latest news on training, events and other PORAC-related business. She stresses the importance of these bimonthly gatherings because meeting attendance has been a struggle for the chapter. Most member association leaders are not being afforded release time and general members are “extremely busy policing our communities and fighting crime, so it’s often a struggle to find the time needed to focus on labor and political issues,” says Morris, a former Los Angeles Port Police Association secretary.  

Despite this, chapter leaders do their best to accommodate members by rearranging meeting dates and times and by updating members virtually. They make every effort to reach out to their members to establish connections and share the importance of being involved in PORAC. However, Morris believes meeting in person is the best way to do this.

“Attending meetings encourages active listening and meaningful discussion, whereas emailing the information too often falls upon deaf ears,” she says. “Meetings also allow us to bring members together so that we can learn from each other, see what other associations are experiencing and offer support and advice.”

The Los Angeles South Chapter holds bimonthly chapter meetings at Second City Bistro in El Segundo.

Bringing members together, Browning and Morris agree, is their favorite thing about being involved with PORAC.

“PORAC membership creates an environment in which peace officers interact and work toward achieving common goals and objectives,” they say. “Not only do we keep members informed regarding current issues and endorsements, but we offer financial support by way of PAC/PIC contributions, sponsorships and donations to the families of fallen, injured or critically ill members. We continue to reach out to our members and are constantly striving to build a strong, effective and powerful branch of PORAC.”

LEADERSHIP

President: Brandon Browning
Vice President: Cheryl Morris
Treasurer: Joe Cameron
Secretary: Scot Martin
PORAC Director: Marshall McClain

NUMBER OF MEMBERS

3,230

COVERAGE AREA

Southern Los Angeles County

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