Like many of you, I was horrified when I learned of the tragic death of Riverside County Sheriff’s Deputy Isaiah Cordero. On December 29, 2022, the 32-year-old approached a vehicle he had stopped when the driver pulled out a gun and opened fire, fatally wounding Deputy Cordero. The suspect fled the scene and led deputies in a vehicle pursuit, where he was shot and killed after he opened fire on deputies. He had a lengthy criminal record and stabbed a California Highway Patrol canine in 2021. At the time of Deputy Cordero’s murder, the suspect was out on bail even after having been arrested for failing to appear while awaiting a mandatory 25-years-to-life sentence for the incident where he stabbed the canine. Deputy Cordero had served with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department for eight and a half years and was a motorcycle deputy assigned to Jurupa Valley. He is survived by his parents and stepbrother.
Before the community and fellow law enforcement colleagues could finish mourning Deputy Cordero, a second tragedy hit the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. Deputy Darnell Calhoun, 30, was shot and killed in the line of duty on January 13, 2023, while responding to a call involving domestic violence and a child custody issue in Lakeland Village. Deputy Calhoun began his service with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department as a Deputy Sheriff in February 2022 and was assigned to the Lake Elsinore Station. He had previously served at the San Diego Police Department for two years. Deputy Calhoun was the father of two boys, ages 2 and 4. In addition, he and his wife were about to welcome a third baby boy.
Although these two tragic incidents occurred outside Los Angeles County, they still hit home and serve as a reminder that law enforcement, specifically the men and women who proudly serve their communities, are targets of offenders enjoying the lax criminal system.
On behalf of the entire PPOA organization, we extend our deepest sympathy to the families of Deputy Isaiah Cordero and Deputy Darnell Calhoun.
PLANNING AHEAD FOR PPOA
One of the most important and impactful responsibilities of an association’s board of directors is to develop a strategic plan to lay out short- and long-term goals. Last month, the PPOA Board of Directors and I attended a yearly Board planning session. We convened for three days and listened to several subject-matter experts who presented on various subjects such as insurance benefits, workers’ compensation laws, Senate Bill 2 updates, legislation updates and the Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act (PEPRA). In addition, we had rich discussions on how to expand our perspective and help discover new ideas and solutions.
For example, some of the solutions discussed for PEPRA were for the Board of Supervisors to support a 401(k) for non-mega-flex employees, implement the DROP program (it would be an offset, and the County would save on workers’ comp) and/or legislative change (increase the salary cap). If you would like to read further on PEPRA and the DROP program, please see Board member Jim Schallert’s article in the January issue of Star & Shield magazine, in which he diligently explained both topics.
Lastly, I welcome the recently promoted Sergeants who began their new roles on January 15. During the badge exchange, I saw a lot of friendly faces and met new folks, all eager to take care of business at their new units of assignment. It was a pleasure to speak with them and answer their questions regarding the many benefits that come with PPOA membership.