Police Foundation dedicated to serving those who protect

Extra funds pay for specialized training, bulletproof vests and doggie treats
By Dan Aznoff | Aug 15, 2019

As a police dispatcher in Arizona, Sally Dagna knew all about the extra hours and unpaid efforts the officers in her department made to protect the citizens of the desert community. When she moved to Mill Creek, she decided to do something to repay the officer’s selfless work.

As a concerned citizen of her new hometown, Dagna has become the heart and soul of the Mill Creek Police Foundation. It is a badge she wears proudly, but an honor she would be glad to share with other residents who are grateful for the protection they take for granted every day.

She began by sitting down with members of the Police Guild to determine what the officers in the field really needed to do their jobs. Her fundraising efforts began with a $5,000 donation from Mill Creek resident Roy Cats, who owns an exotic car dealership in Lynnwood.

“Obviously, the city pays for salaries and buys the patrol cars, but there are so many more expenses that go into to protecting our citizens. Many of those expenses are paid by our officers out of their own pocket,” said Dagna.

“The police provide the Community Resource Officer at the (Jackson) high school, they make sure our parks are a safe place for our kids to play and they protect our roads so we can come home to secure neighborhoods.”

The non-profit organization, she said, helps to pay for items that are not in the city’s budget.

“We bridge the gap the gap between items in the city budget and the reality of police work in the field.”

Some of the items are so minor they do not even show up in a budget request.

“The city could buy an adequate flashlight for $5,” said Dagna. “But our officers prefer the $30 model that allows them to successfully pursue and capture suspects at night or on one of the dark trails that wind through our parks.”

The most visible example of the fundraising efforts of the Mill Creek Police Foundation is the kennel built in the backyard of Officer Nathan Lerma for the city’s K9 officer, Begira.

“A police dog can cost the city $18,000,” Dagna explained. “But there is zero money in the budget for fuzzy toys or doggie chews.”

North Creek Roofing supplied the materials for the doghouse and many of the extra items needed to make a home for the city’s newest officer  Together with donations from local businesses, the foundation funded the installation of the cement pad and fencing for Begira before he began his duty in Mill Creek..

Mill Creek Police Chief Greg Elwin described constriction project as “the nicest kennel you’d ever want to see.”

The foundation also spent $1,000 to have Begira fitted with a Kevlar vest, then an additional $10,000 to retrofit the patrol car with restraints to protect the dog while the patrol car is in motion and a cooling system to safeguard the city’s canine from extreme temperatures.

The foundation, she said, collected more than $10,000 in donations from visitors at the recent Mill Creek Festival.

Dagna said the foundation accepts invitations to have booths at community events to help raise funds. Members will be at the Oyster Festival in Bellingham this month to raise money and awareness for the K9 program in Mill Creek.

In addition to the K9 program, Police Chief Greg Elwin said the Mill Creek Police Foundation has provided uniforms for the all-volunteer Citizen Patrol and sponsored the Chief for a Day program. The foundation also sponsors the emergency preparedness seminars held in City Hall.

“The foundation plays an important role in our Community Outreach program, “ said Elwin. “The program is a great way to network the community to keep people involved with the city.”

Elwin said he was touched by the thought that went into a luncheon in January to honor the wives and husbands of Mill Creek police officers. The effort, he said, was an honor that is often overlooked by other agencies.

The chief described the Police Foundation as a “Strong link between the police department with the citizens we serve.

“It’s a pretty cool program.”

The one thing the foundation really needs, said Dagna, is more members. She emphasized that foundation meets only once every month.

“The foundation is great way to volunteer and have a real impact on your own community.”

Information on the organization and ways to become involved are available on the foundation website at www.millcreekpolicefoundation.com.

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