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 Redwood Chapter.
Composed of beautiful lakes and rivers, vast forestland and majestic coastline, the 10,000-square-mile area in which the Redwood Chapter and its 26 associations operate creates a unique geographical experience that Chapter President Zohar Zaied and members welcome with open arms.
The sweeping landscape, however, can pose challenges when it comes to member communication. Zaied explains that while visually striking, the terrain can be a deterrent to reaching members and creating a sense of community. But since the beginning of the new year, the chapter has been tackling this problem by setting a very clear goal of fostering an even stronger community by growing its online presence.
“Our mission in 2020 is to make communication and information exchanges easier for our members through social media platforms,” says Zaied, a corrections deputy with the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office and 18-year PORAC member. “As we create more of an online community, my hope is that we will hear more from each other and have an easier ability to address the needs of our membership.”
While a bigger focus is being put on digital interactions, the Redwood Chapter still prides itself on its in-person meetings, which occur three times a year. The chapter’s strong unity is perhaps most visible at its first meeting each year, held at the Humboldt County Peace Officer’s Hall in Eureka. That’s because, every January for the past 25 years, longtime chapter member Dave Walker has drawn in members far and wide with his famous crab cioppino, an Italian-inspired fish stew that he makes from scratch.
This past January’s feast was particularly momentous, as it was the last time Walker prepared his savory stew for the group. Walker, who has worked almost 50 years in law enforcement, passed down his well-crafted recipe to Naomi Aubuchon (wife of chapter member and Humboldt County DA Investigator Alan Aubuchon), who agreed to carry on the legacy next year.
“We all know food brings people together, and that’s been exactly the case with this gathering for more than two decades,” Zaied says. “Not only has Dave spent decades perfecting his craft, but he did his part in maintaining the law enforcement community in the Redwood Chapter and then passed it on to the next generation.”
Walker’s commitment and dedication to the Redwood Chapter, as well as his ability to bring those around the region together, embodies the spirit of what PORAC provides its membership.
“PORAC and our partners continue to provide a level of representation and leadership at the state and federal level that every member benefits from,” Zaied says. “The organization’s efforts to support our membership — from Fund a Hero to the POWER Project — can easily become the gold standard in other states.” Zaied, who became chapter president this past July, strongly believes that mentorship and a passing-the-torch mentality can go a long way toward helping PORAC and the Redwood Chapter grow and prosper.
“I believe that bridging the gap and passing it on can — and should — be part of a leader’s role within the association,” he says. “Chapter leaders, myself included, could really stand some mentoring from the more experienced chapter leaders. Beyond the helpful seminars and support we all take advantage of from Sacramento, the learned practical experiences of our matured chapter leaders could greatly benefit newcomers and, by extension, PORAC in general.”
With a clear passion for his leadership position and PORAC as a whole, Zaied’s excitement for the future and ways the chapter can continue to flourish are evident. “Despite the geographical challenges we face at Redwood Chapter — a situation we are always striving to conquer — I would love to see more member associations attend our meetings,” he says. “You will have the ear of our state executives and the ability to have direct conversation with the people who make decisions based on what they feel PORAC needs. In turn, the more attendees we have at regular meetings, the more accurately PORAC will serve its membership. In the years to come, I look forward to connecting the dots and hope to do right by the membership with my actions.”
President: Zohar Zaied
Secretary: Sally Provencher
Treasurer: Lesley Bryant
Director: Gary Frace
NUMBER OF MEMBERS
Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake and Mendocino counties