Have you ever heard of a police foundation? Police foundations began to garner interest and gain momentum a few decades ago within larger departments throughout the United States. Although they can be structured in several different ways, most police foundations are charitable 501C3 organizations that are totally independent of the agency they are serving and representing.
While the purpose and mission of each group may vary, most are concerned with providing external assistance to the department to help further its mission. For instance, many provide training and some specialized equipment that is not otherwise available through the normal state or federal budgetary process. Some foundations center on expanding their community outreach efforts through youth initiatives, safe driving courses and public awareness. Obviously, all of these programs strengthen the professionalization and understanding of our work while reducing crime and improving the quality of life in our state. State police and highway patrol agencies in Tennessee, Indiana, Oregon, Illinois and Louisiana have created their own foundations with notable success.
Examples of assistance include the Louisville Metro Foundation paying for their annual awards ceremony at the Galt House each year and awarding up to five scholarships for supervisors to attend the Administrative Officers Course at the Southern Police Institute. Unique equipment purchases have been made by other foundations such as ballistic vests for their canine units, equine assistance for mounted patrol and honor guard uniforms. A nearby state recently provided classes for marriage enrichment and monetary investment strategies for their personnel. As you can see, the possibilities are far reaching.
All of the monies raised for the Kentucky State Police Foundation will be from public donations and private business entities that are supporters of our agency. Ultimately the board of directors will be comprised of leaders from various businesses in the private and public sector. Eventually a director will be hired with private funding that will work for the foundation to facilitate special events, charitable giving and long term sustenance.
As we get closer to our first official board meeting at the end of this month, I’m excited about the opportunities that this presents to our agency. Advanced leadership development, ‘Shop-with-a-Trooper’, Citizens Police Academy expansion, specialized investigative training, enhanced recruitment initiatives and select equipment are just a few of the possibilities that come to mind. We have already banked nearly $50,000 to jump start this endeavor and hope to make an announcement in the next few weeks about a large endowment that the foundation is working on. More information will be forthcoming over the next few months as we construct a website and begin to formalize plans about a special event next summer. I hope that you are as excited as I am regarding the new Kentucky State Police Foundation and the possibilities that this will present to our agency as we move into the future.