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Unified front: West Coast Law Enforcement Coalition advocates for change

How law enforcement agencies from California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii and Alaska are joining forces to address critical public safety issues and advocate for meaningful legislative reform

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The policing landscape on the West Coast has faced significant scrutiny and challenges, from policy decisions and rising crime rates to issues surrounding homelessness, drug abuse and mental health.

In this episode of the Policing Matters podcast, host Jim Dudley speaks with Brian Marvel, a seasoned San Diego police officer and the current president of the Police Officers Research Association of California (PORAC), to discuss the formation of the West Coast Law Enforcement Coalition and its efforts to address these pressing concerns. The episode offers a deep dive into the intricacies of policing, the impact of legislation and the quest for effective solutions to improve public safety and law enforcement professionalism.

Brian Marvel brings to the discussion his extensive experience and leadership within PORAC, representing over 79,000 members. The conversation focuses on the coalition’s goals, including advocating for new laws, policies and programs that aim to advance the law enforcement profession and enhance public safety. Marvel discusses the challenges faced by law enforcement on the West Coast, such as anti-police sentiment, the decriminalization of crime, and the effects of legislation on police operations and community safety. The dialogue also touches on national issues, like the windfall elimination provision and the government pension offset, which significantly impact law enforcement personnel.

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Memorable quotes

  • “There was no real West Coast perspective in national discussions, and I think the elected officials really need to hear what it’s like for our folks out on the street.”
  • “I would like to create good policy, not good headlines.”
  • “American citizens are dying every day because of your inaction. Don’t let my state be the example of what not to do.”
  • “You’re talking about some of your largest corporations, your largest employers in the city of San Francisco are considering to leave. And I think that’s very problematic.”
  • “Our job is also to be safe. We want to work in a safe environment. There’s no other profession outside the military where they would be like, ‘Hey, just go out there and get hurt. And we’re OK with that.’”

Key takeaways

  1. Formation of the West Coast Law Enforcement Coalition: Established to provide a unified voice for law enforcement organizations across the West Coast, including California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, and Alaska, in response to rising challenges and public safety concerns.
  2. Advocacy for law enforcement and public safety: The coalition aims to advocate for laws, policies, and programs that advance the profession and improve public safety, tackling issues such as the decriminalization of drugs and the need for effective crime legislation.
  3. Impact of legislation on policing: Discussion on how recent laws and policy decisions have affected law enforcement’s ability to maintain public safety, including the consequences of decriminalizing certain offenses and the challenges in combating the fentanyl crisis.
  4. The importance of national representation and advocacy: Marvel emphasizes the need for the West Coast’s law enforcement perspective to be represented in national discussions, highlighting the unique challenges and approaches of the region.
  5. The role of PORAC and active officers in policy advocacy: PORAC’s leadership by active officers ensures that the organization’s advocacy is grounded in current policing realities, aiming to influence policies that officers must live and work with.

PORAC in action

Recently, PORAC partnered with Crime Victims United (CVU) to release a new video: PORAC Supports Victims. The video centers around a press conference the two organizations held last session in opposition to SB 94 that would have allowed murderers convicted and sentenced to life without parole to petition the court for resentencing — potentially allowing for the release of dozens of convicted killers back into California’s communities.

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Policing Matters law enforcement podcast with host Jim Dudley features law enforcement and criminal justice experts discussing critical issues in policing