A group dedicated to helping the Long Beach Police Department is looking for some help itself.
The Long Beach Police Foundation, founded in 1988 as the Long Beach Police Chief's Foundation, raises money to pay for training and equipment not in the police department budget but necessary to get the job done. Perhaps more importantly, it finances many of the community engagement programs (Shop With A Cop, Youth Police Explorers, Toy Patrol and more) that put a human face on the sometimes difficult job of law enforcement. It is the only place to donate directly to the LBPD.
Next Thursday, Feb. 20, the foundation hosts its annual Passion for Police event to refill the treasury. Foundation president Bruce MacRae said this is an important year for the organization.
"We honestly think we can raise more that $100,000 this year," MacRae said. "That's important to continue the programs we support, and we're trying to get funding for the new Police and Fire Memorial over the finish line, too."
Last year, the foundation hit a milestone while donating more than $65,000, according to director Anjelica Vargas. The jump to more than $100,000 will be fueled, at least partially, by the drive to get more members in the Chief's Circle, the foundation's highest level of donations. Financing the memorial has added to the importance of the drive, she added.
One of the primary ways the foundation helps police is through the grant program. Officers from patrol through commander submit requests the board considers for funding.
Some of the equipment donated that way in recent years include patrol bicycles, cameras and laptop computers for detectives, police explorer uniforms, upgrades to briefing and interview rooms, and even a narcotics detection K-9 dog named Ozzy.
"In addition to direct grant requests, the LBPF annually sponsors the Police Awards Ceremony," Vargas said, "(along with) a Shop with a Cop children's back-to-school event for elementary-aged students living at and below the poverty line, the Quality of Life Homeless Outreach Team, Long Beach Youth Police Explorers, Toy Patrol, Kiwanis Kids and Cops Day and other community engagement events that promote positive interactions among our officers and the public."
The foundation also organizes and presents the annual Long Beach Police Department awards event.
People can join the Long Beach Police Foundation for $100 a year for individuals and $200 a year for businesses. Board members donate significantly more.
Passion for Police is the only fundraiser of the year for the foundation. Tickets to the party are $100 each or $1,000 for a table of 10. The event, which includes an auction of unique items, is from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20, at the law offices of Keesal, Young, and Logan, 400 Oceangate.
To purchase tickets or for more information, go to bit.ly/passionforpolice2020.