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Nonprofit profile: Community Law Enforcement Foundation helps provide police with equipment, training

Annual Cops & Robbers Ball will be held April 29

Published in the April 12 – April 25, 2017 issue of Morgan Hill Life

By Marty Cheek

Morgan Hill Police officer Santiago Fierro with Basco, the new MHPD K-9 officer. The Community Law Enforcement Foundation raised funds to help purchase the K-9 officer. Photo courtesy MHPD Officer Jeff Brandon

The volunteers with the Morgan Hill Community Law Enforcement Foundation believe public safety is the most important service a city government can provide its citizens. The nonprofit was created as a means for community members to support the Morgan Hill Police Department by raising money to ensure local cops have the tools and training they need to be effective and to better serve our community.

“The growth of the community has precipitated needs for the PD to grow with it that haven’t necessarily been met through the city,” said CLEF Board President Doug Moffat. “We feel there still is good charter for what we do, and so we’re looking forward to enhancing what we can with public safety.”

Morgan Hill’s model for a community-based foundation to help police proved so successful that Gilroy citizens recently started their own similar nonprofit to help that city’s police force, he said.

CLEF over the years has helped the MHPD acquire training programs for officers that are cutting edge as well as equipment such as AED defibrillators for all patrol cars to help first responders aid people whose hearts have stopped.

“Cops are the first ones at the scene much more often than you’d think compared with ambulance or fire,” Moffat said. “And so for them to be able to do some life-saving, you can’t wait that five minutes.”

CLEF’s annual Cops & Robbers Ball fundraising galas also provided the funding to obtain and train Bosco, a K-9 officer. The money also purchased the ballistic vest the police dog wears.

“We benefit the Morgan Hill Police Department and try to get them the tools that they need to enhance public safety, whether it be ballistic plates for the cop cars or a K-9 unit or license plate reader or infrared scanners,” Moffat said.

Besides its fundraising efforts, CLEF also seeks to enhance the image of police department and its staff in the community by helping engage the public in activities such as the downtown Third Street’s National Night Out event, which this year will be Aug. 1, he said.

“We’re consistently out there trying to talk it up,” he said. “It’s a two-way thing because we sort of sit in that vortex between the police and the citizenry … During Police Week we try to go in and show our appreciation. It’s token things like Starbucks cards for a coffee or we bring them pizzas. It’s just an effort to let them know we’re out there on their behalf to try to make this bridge stronger.”

This year’s Cops & Robbers Ball, the sixth one, will be held April 29 at the Morgan Hill Community and Cultural Center. The group will honor South Valley entrepreneur Frank Léal as its annual public safety award recipient. Léal has in the past six years donated money and wine donations to CLEF, supporting its efforts to help local law enforcement and the MHPD to make Morgan Hill one of the safest cities in Santa Clara County, Moffat said.

Two years ago, Léal purchased and renovated the Granada Theater, which was in need of repair, and turned it into a marquee event center for the downtown. He now is in the process of building a new boutique hotel on the property next to the Granada where the dilapidated Downtown Mall once stood.

Léal also gives support to local nonprofit Community Solutions, which focuses on providing a safe environment for the most vulnerable members of our community, Moffat said.

“Frank’s commitment to making Morgan Hill the best and safest city to live in benefits all of us by making Morgan Hill a better and safer place to live, raise our families and conduct our business,” he said.

DETAILS

For more information: www.morganhillclef.org