The Nelson Police Foundation is hardly more than a year old, but already has two community projects on the go, as well as the Cuffs and Claws Lobster Feast, a fundraising gala on Oct. 24.
“The gala is a kick-off for the foundation,” says board member Roger Higgins, “to tell the community ‘we’re here.’”
The foundation was set up to raise money for police and community projects that would not normally come under the regular city police budget. That includes enhancing training for police staff and developing educational and crime prevention programs for the community.
One current project is a collaboration between the police and an L.V. Rogers mechanics class to restore a 1969 Plymouth Satellite — the same make and model as a police car used in Nelson in 1969. The police will eventually use the car as a community vehicle, to lead parades, take part in Road Kings and other events, and as a focal point for marketing the foundation.
The other project is an emergency services boot camp for high school students, an event that has been organized for many years but which has been taken under the umbrella of the foundation.
The boot camp is a three-day event for high school students covering a range of topics from firearms, forensics, and fire rescue to lifesaving, victims services, and use-of-force training.
Deputy police chief Paul Burkart told the Star that he had already decided in high school that he wanted to be a police officer, and wishes he had an opportunity like the boot camp when he was young.
“For most of us the camp brings fond memories of our own training,” he said. “We take them through life-like scenarios. We take someone out of a vehicle and arrest them, we rescue someone from a fire and lower them down. Search and rescue are there and take someone out of a river.
“I think it highlights some of the more exciting parts of the job,” he said, “while at the same time they go on runs, we make them do reports and take notes. They learn that the job is not always about rescues and take-downs, and much of it is about mundane tasks.”
The police foundation exists under the umbrella of the Osprey Community Foundation. That means charitable donations to the police foundation through Osprey are pooled with all other donations to Osprey, resulting in greater returns to the community.
Higgins says donating to the foundation is a way to say thank you to the police and give back to the community.
The gala dinner event at Mary Hall on Oct. 24 will include dinner by the Selkirk College culinary students and live entertainment. Half of the ticket price of $75 will be considered a charitable donation.