Cops & Robbers Ball raises funds for MHPD needs
Published in the April 11 – 24, 2018 Issue of Morgan Hill Life
Guests at this year’s Cops & Robber Ball will get a glimpse into the world of law enforcement with interactive activities with police officers.
The gala will be held at the Morgan Hill Community Center Saturday, April 21, to raise funds for the Community Law Enforcement Foundation for the purchase of a scenario simulator for the Morgan Hill Police Department.
Guests will be able to test themselves in stressful police situations using the Milo-Force Training Simulator, said Craig Van Kuelen, president of CLEF. The video-based computer system is used to teach police officers on use-of-force policies and tactics such as what to do if a suspect pulls out a fire-arm or other weapon. The officers must make split-second decisions in the programmed scenarios, such as potentially shooting the suspect with a mock gun wirelessly connected to the computer, he said.
“If you went to last year’s Cops & Robbers, you saw a little bit of that,” he said. “But this year it’s going to be a full-blown. If the guests must shoot the gun, the system will show you where your shots went. They’ll receive a report on what they should or shouldn’t have done.”
The scenarios of what police officers train for shows the potential danger of their jobs when interacting with violent people, he said.
“The split-second decisions that they have to make, the simulator really gives you an appreciation of what a tough job it is,” he said. “They’ve got to protect themselves and they’ve got to protect other people who are involved in a situation. It really gives an appreciation for the challenging work that our police officers do.”
The guests at Cops & Robbers will also have an opportunity to undergo a field sobriety test to see how the police check for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, Van Kuelen said. They will get out of the car and do certain activities to determine potential intoxication such as touching their nose. Guests will also meet Bosco, the MHPD’s K-9 officer, and see the dog in action “attacking” an officer in a protective suit.
This year’s Cops & Robbers Ball will recognize Marilyn Librers and Brian Sullivan, two Morgan Hill residents who have played a role in making sure that the city’s police department is well supported by the community, Van Kuelen said. Librers is a former city council member and Sullivan is the 2018 Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year.
“They’re great local people who support the police department and help facilitate public safety in our community,” Van Kuelen said. “Marilyn has been involved with the Community Law Enforcement Foundation and has contributed as a volunteer. When she was on the council, she was instrumental in supporting the police in every turn and public safety in general. And Brian Sullivan is well known in the community and very supportive of the mission of CLEF.”
CLEF is a nonprofit organization started by residents in 1988 who believe in community support of public safety. Over the years, it has provided funds for many special purchases to enhance the MHPD’s ability to protect life and property in the city. In 2008, for example, it provided $19,240 in funding for the reinstatement of the MHPD K-9 unit with the purchase of a Germany Shepherd as well as training and equipment.
In 2010, CLEF provided $4,500 in funding for a NOPTIC patrol car mounted thermal imaging camera and $3,500 in funding for the MHPD’s Parent Project, a program geared at the parents of at-risk youth.
“CLEF is about partnering with various aspects of the community in public safety in Morgan Hill and to support the Morgan Hill Police Department to provide them with the extra funding that they need,” Van Kuelen said. “We’ve probably raised somewhere in the neighborhood of $400,000. The Cops & Robbers Ball is our big and only fundraiser. It’s an opportunity for people to get together and celebrate our police and the great job that they do in Morgan Hill and really think about public safety and how important it is in our community, to our businesses, to our families, to our neighborhoods. It’s kind of a benchmark to the great community we have here in Morgan Hill.”
Police Chief David Swing said CLEF’s work is aligned with the department’s vision of being the ‘Department of Choice’ for its staff and community.
“They provide some of the necessary funds for officer safety and community engagement,” he said. “We could not be as successful without community partnerships, and CLEF is an integral partner in our community’s safety.”