Copyright © 2022 Eugene Police Foundation
The Foundation endeavors to be responsive to requests from EPD as they arise. The community safety environment is fluid and somewhat unpredictable. Equipment and programs within EPD are budgeted well in advance, and are subject to significant financial limitations.
Over 80 percent of EPD’s funding from the City of Eugene is applied to personnel costs, leaving relatively few funds for discretionary spending mid-year. As a result, it is common for specific and important equipment and training needs to arise from time to time well after EPD’s annual budget is set. The Foundation plays an important role in providing funding for those items as the needs arise.
Notwithstanding, thanks to the support of generous donors, the Foundation has also been in a position to make longer term commitments to funding recurring activities to enhance community relationships and operational safety and efficiency. Following are some examples.
The Community Cares Fund may be the Foundation’s most well-known program. The Fund is attached to debit cards carried by EPD supervisory and command staff.
The Fund is available at the discretion of officers who encounter situations in which prompt purchase of emergency food, shelter, clothing, transportation, or something else can provide immediate help to a person who might otherwise fall into more dire circumstances requiring social service intervention or criminal enforcement.
In recent months, EPD has used the Fund to create small “care packages” of essential items (socks, hand warmers, sanitation products, etc.) to distribute to unhoused individuals.
The Community Cares Fund allows EPD to provide immediate cost-effective, proactive, and positive assistance, including, on occasion, provision of temporary shelter to victims of domestic violence or other crimes.
Shop With a Cop is an annual holiday shopping event for economically disadvantaged children identified by the Eugene and Bethel school districts.
The first “Shop With a Cop” event occurred in December of 2018, and was an immediate success. After a hiatus in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic, the event made a successful return in December 2021. The event is organized and implemented by EPD and funded by the Foundation. About 100 families have participated in the events held thus far.
This program has proven to be a wonderful way for children to have positive experiences with EPD officers, while providing meaningful assistance to participants and their families for the holidays.
The Foundation has been excited to support the growth of the K9 Unit at EPD. The first significant expenditures by the Foundation a few years ago were for thermal imagers and GPS collars for the dogs.
GPS collars allow for tracking the dogs when they are off leash and out of visual contact. Both tools significantly improved the level of safety and efficiency for the dogs and their handlers.
The Foundation funded the unanticipated purchase of K9 Marco, and, for example, has purchased new tactical harnesses, specialized first aid kits for all of the K9’s, and a new bite suit for training. Most recently, the Foundation facilitated acquisition of a large trailer to store and transport K9 equipment to incident scenes to support the K9s and their handlers on lengthy engagements.
The K9 Unit has been instrumental in the capture of many suspects as well as location of missing persons. Safety, efficiency, and well-being of the K9s and their handlers are high priority for this very important EPD resource.
Under the leadership of Sargent Kyle Williams, the drone team at EPD has emerged as a key component to effective policing and community safety.
Drone technology continues to evolve quickly, and the Foundation has played a significant role in assisting EPD to build and maintain the fleet. Heat sensing capacity combined with outstanding camera and lighting capabilities make drone services highly valuable to EPD.
The drone team frequently works in conjunction with the K9 Unit to facilitate safety, efficiency, and efficacy for patrol officers in dangerous situations. They are also active in support of large accident investigation and reconstruction, as well as search and rescue.
The drone program is substantially outside the EPD annual budget, so Foundation support is critical to its availability and success.
Mental health and wellness for EPD officers and their families is an important factor in officer retention and effectiveness. The Foundation values opportunities to assist in those areas.
Police personnel experience highly stressful and traumatic situations on a regular basis, often leading to mental and physical health ramifications affecting performance in the field as well as at home. EPD’s Peer Support and Resiliency Team provide important training and learning opportunities to address those issues, and the Foundation has been honored to be able to provide significant financial support for PSRT activities.
In addition, the generosity of donors permits the Foundation to fund coffee service at EPD headquarters and the Communications and Training Center. This service has proven to be extremely popular, and provides a welcomed morale boost every day as a gesture of community support for their service.
Be it mental health training or assistance, physical fitness equipment, or a cup of coffee, the Foundation intends to continue to support the wellness of EPD’s personnel in order to help them function at a high and personally rewarding level.