The Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC) is organized around our peace officers, to protect, represent, educate and generally maintain a leadership role for the large number of rank and file officers in our state. Each year, PORAC holds a conference where California peace officers and their representatives can network, learn best practices, and benefit from professional development.
At the 2014 Annual PORAC Conference in November, Paul Goyette of Goyette & Associates, was a guest speaker. Mr. Goyette, and the entire firm of Goyette & Associates, has a long running relationship with PORAC, and a long history of successfully representing peace officers. Titled “Critical Incidents: Developing Issues and Increased Public Scrutiny,” Mr. Goyette used one of the most widely known examples of police in the media today: Ferguson, Missouri.
Mr. Goyette’s suggestion is simple: Have a team with a plan and a message.
Much of the backlash against Officer Wilson in Ferguson could have been avoided had his department prepared and presented a statement to the media within 24 hours of Mr. Brown’s death. Key points would have included an expression of sorry over the loss of life, the portrayal of Office Wilson as a human being, and the reiteration of Officer Wilson’s experience on the job and performing according to his training.
Unfortunately, the lack of a response from the Ferguson police department allowed the media to catch hold, craft their own perspectives, and push the public to a negative opinion of the incident. Incendiary comments from well-known public media figures created an environment that no longer cared for the truth of the incident, but had tried and convicted the officer without his side of the story.
Regardless of opinion on the Ferguson matter, it is clear that Mr. Goyette’s presentation and message of preparedness and planning for critical incidents is a very important one for peace officers. Have a team with a plan and a message. Skip the lawyer jargon, and speak to the community the officers work in and with on a daily basis.
It is PORAC’s mission to serve and protect the same peace officers that serve and protect their communities. Whether it is by representing a specific officer, or presenting at events, Goyette & Associates are proud to work with PORAC and support that mission.