Several Dunwoody residents have started the Dunwoody Police Foundation, a nonprofit with the mission of providing financial support to officers in need, as well as to help cover training and equipment costs.
The new group will hold its first public event at the Dunwoody 4th of July Parade, where members will be accepting donations at a booth next to the Dunwoody Police Department at the end of the parade in the festival area of Dunwoody Village.
“A couple years ago I had the opportunity to go through the Dunwoody Police Citizens’ Academy and I was really impressed with what officers have to go through,” said Rick Holland, president of the new foundation’s board of directors.
“It’s a very tough job and I wanted to find a way to give back,” he said.
Holland said he first brought officers a meal, but learned that many residents already do that. After learning there was no mechanism to make direct money donations to the police department, Holland said, he started talking with Police Chief Billy Grogan and other residents about what could be done to provide financial support to officers.
He learned other cities also have nonprofit police foundations, like one in Woodstock, where Grogan used to work, and the large and established Atlanta Police Foundation. The city of Brookhaven also has a nonprofit police foundation.
“A key ingredient to a safe city is having a supportive community that works closely with their police department,” Grogan said in a written statement.
“Fortunately, we have always had that positive relationship with our community here in Dunwoody. With the formation of the Dunwoody Police Foundation, I am confident the department and citizens working together can accomplish even more to keep Dunwoody safe,” he said.
In addition to Holland, the new board includes Michael Twiner, vice president and treasurer, president of HydroPro Engineering and Construction; Kathy Brandt; Larry B. Domenico, partner at Mozley, Finlayson & Loggins LLP; Carolyn Riticher, CPA; and Heyward Wescott, owner of Custom Signs Today.
Holland said one focus is to financially support an officer who is injured on the job and has a hard time paying bills.
“They have disability insurance, but they may work a second job to make ends meet and if they are hurt, they can’t work that second job and that impacts their family,” Holland said. “It would be nice if the foundation could step in and make bill payments to some degree.”
The foundation is an independent organization with no ties to the police department or the city of Dunwoody, he said. But it may cover costs for equipment or training that is not entirely paid for by the city, he said.
“The core mission is to support the training of officers, their equipment and their needs,” Holland said.
“The police department is part of what makes Dunwoody, Dunwoody … and makes this a community a desirable place to live,” he said. “Helping the police department benefits everybody.”
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