SP Police & Fire Foundation celebrates supporters at special Chamber Mixer

April 01, 2009
Santa Paula News

The Santa Paula Police and Fire Foundation (SPPFF) celebrated supporters of public safety at the March Chamber of Commerce Mixer, held at Santa Paula Fire Department Station 2.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesThe Santa Paula Police and Fire Foundation (SPPFF) celebrated supporters of public safety at the March Chamber of Commerce Mixer, held at Santa Paula Fire Department Station 2. More than 100 people attended the mixer that featured a barbeque buffet prepared and served by Santa Paula fire and police personnel.“Tonight is a very special Chamber mixer” to thank those who have supported the SPPFF, and in turn, said Fire Chief Rick Araiza, have provided “tens of thousands of dollars for equipment purchases” and other needs of police and fire in only two years. The foundation was incorporated in October 2007 after an effort led by Bud Brown to help strengthen public safety through community support.Araiza said the SPFD has purchased “much quicker and lighter Jaws of Life” to replace the department’s 40-year-old set, a non-toxic training smoke machine, and a Hot Stick, among other equipment. The Hot Stick checks for live electrical current, duty, Araiza joked, that had usually been assigned to Reserves.The latest acquisition is a Stair Chair. “When we’re on a medical call there’s often a problem” maneuvering gurneys down a flight of stairs, and “the chair has rollers” and is designed to “to make it easier on the backs of firefighters.”“Most of our stuff is small in nature,” but, said Police Chief Steve MacKinnon, big in importance to police operations. The first expenditure from Foundation funding was for the Santa Paula Police Department to join Crime Stoppers. “We were the only city” in the county not utilizing the anonymous tip line that so far has led to the SPPD clearing about 20 cases.McGruff the Crime Fighting Dog - who also attended the mixer - is a valuable tool in the schools, where students appreciate the silent but dedicated canine.The SPPD has also purchased 15 Tasers, and MacKinnon said the “long range goal is that all officers” will be armed with the devices, “a great tool” that cuts down on injuries not only to those pursued, but also to officers that can avoid physical altercations. LCD flashlights, a large flat screen and laptop for training purposes, the SPPD Explorer Post and brochures and signage have also been provided by foundation funding, which, added MacKinnon “in the very, very near future” will also provide new technology for graffiti detection.
The SPPFF Endowment is up to $75,000, said Foundation President Steve Smead, and revenue - unless directed otherwise - is split evenly between investments and expenditures. The interest from the former, he added, will provide a growing and ongoing source of public safety funding.The major foundation fundraiser held in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce is Moonlight at the Ranch. Like its predecessors, the third annual Moonlight - to be held August 22 at Limoneira Ranch - is expected to be a sellout.With the theme “Out of This World!” and noting “It Ain’t Rocket Science,” MacKinnon said the celebration will be a “real lot of fun... we have a blast just planning it!” Guests will be encouraged to wear sci-fi/space costumes and accessories, or to arrive dressed as they were when abducted by space aliens.“Moonlight does a fantastic amount of fundraising for the foundation,” but, added MacKinnon, another important aspect of the celebration is “it brings the community together” and highlights Santa Paula.Although all foundation donations are appreciated, Smead said those that participate in different levels of sponsorship receive special recognition. Limoneira Company for their Chief’s Circle donation and Diamond Level contributor Lee Hamer Memorial Charities were presented with shadow boxes featuring the foundation badge between SPPD and SPFD patches, and the Pulido Family received a plaque for their Platinum Level support.Others were also honored for their dedication to public safety. The man who Smead said got the foundation “ball rolling and kept kicking it until it was through the goal,” Bud Brown, received the SPPFF Founding Chair Award from MacKinnon. Brown’s efforts have been replicated “for a number of communities, not just Santa Paula,” where the then small SPPFF board held its first official meeting September 13, 2007.“I really enjoyed my time in Santa Paula and I love Santa Paula,” said Brown. “You can’t do it alone, and I had a great group to work with.”For more information on the Santa Paula Police and Fire Foundation, contact Steve Smead at 525-4010.

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