Newman Police Department Corporal Ronil Singh

The murder of Newman Police Corporal Ronil Singh over the holidays was particularly callous. Corporal Singh, a family man who was dedicated to his community, was gunned down by a coward who fled the scene.

The ensuing manhunt to bring Corporal Singh's killer to justice demonstrated the best of law enforcement. Sheriff's Departments, Police Departments, in addition to State and Federal law enforcement teamed up to capture this fugitive. There was never any doubt that their collective efforts would end in success. We should be very proud that Corporal Singh's murderer was caught so quickly. Truly teamwork in action!

In fact, teamwork is one for the pillars of our vocation. We rely on one another for protection, support, advice and resources when needed. Regardless of uniform color, rank, assignment, or years of service, California law enforcement officers have always had each other's backs.

In the aftermath of the arrest of Corporal Singh's killer, Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson held a press conference.

SB 54 - Sanctuary State

Sheriff Christianson advised that the suspect was an illegal alien who had previous DUI convictions. Further, Sheriff Christianson outlined the prohibitions to law enforcement cooperation due to Senate Bill (SB) 54 - The Sanctuary State Law. What Sheriff Christianson did not mention, but is worth pointing out, is that his own statewide organization, the California State Sheriffs' Association, stood with PORAC in opposing SB 54. However, one law enforcement group supported SB 54. That group was the California Police Chiefs Association (Cal Chiefs).

SB 1421

Another Bill that is having negative statewide repercussions is SB 1421. That Bill took effect on January 1st and opened some Peace Officer discipline records to public scrutiny via the California Public Records Act. As the Bill became law, cities and counties throughout California faced public records requests for your formerly confidential discipline records. Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore registered his displeasure with the legislation in a letter to State Senator Nancy Skinner, author of the Bill.Click here to read it. Chief Moore lamented the burden on his organization of the new law.

Prior to the passage SB 1421, I met and discussed the legislation with Senator Skinner. During the legislative process, Senator Skinner was open to compromise on the Bill. While PORAC opposed SB 1421, we made significant headway on a compromise through negotiations with Senator Skinner. I distinctly remember the shock and surprise of learning that Cal Chiefs, at the last moment, had not only abandoned law enforcement, but took a support position of SB 1421. Their action killed all efforts of a compromise. Essentially SB 1421, which LAPD Chief Moore's letter opposed, was endorsed by his own statewide association (Cal Chiefs).

Chief Moore and other California Police Chiefs complained about the Bill and its impacts. Now, Chiefs across the state are turning to their local POAs and even PORAC asking what do in response to these new requirements. Some associations such as those in Los Angeles and San Bernardino have gone to court, with mixed success, to fight the implementation of SB 1421. Thus, dues from rank and file peace officers are being spent to clean up a mess California's Chiefs of Police are responsible for.

The Cal Chiefs Philosophy

In my years on the PORAC Board of Directors I have witnessed PORAC working with every other law enforcement stakeholder to improve public safety in the Golden State. PORAC President Brian Marvel personifies this. He is constantly reaching out to others, building coalitions, and searching for common ground.

Sheriff Christianson, in his press conference concerning Corporal Shing, correctly cited California Politician's as being responsible for many of the insane edicts placed on the state's law men and women. While it is easy to point the finger outside of our vocation, sometimes some introspection is necessary.

PORAC works hard to protect you, your family, and improve California public safety. I have outlined just two bills; SB 54 & SB 1421 where PORAC tried to do just that, and Cal Chiefs abandoned everyone in service of themselves. It would be bad enough if my observation was limited to just these two bills, but it is not. In the last couple of years on issues large and small, Cal Chiefs has taken position after position that supports their "me first and me alone" philosophy.

Let Your Chief Know

We can complain about California's politicians and the decisions they make, but we cannot escape the fact that California's corps of Police Chiefs is doing our state and our members harm by their actions. Many Chiefs of Police may not know, nor care, but it is incumbent on us, as Association Leaders, to bring the behavior of Cal Chiefs to everyone's attention. For the POA leaders reading this, I encourage you to share these details with your Chief of Police. Lobby them, ask them the hard questions, and encourage them to hold Cal Chief's leadership to account for their choices. Our state and more importantly our hardworking members deserve better, especially from a group that proclaim to be leaders.

Stay safe and take care of one another.

Sláinte from your PORAC Region One representatives,

Paul Kelly, President, San Jose POA

Barry Donelan, President, Oakland POA