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
Courtesy of: City of Mill Creek The black German shepard Begira has been the recipient of donations and hard work from the members of the Mill Creek Police Foundation who bought toys and chew bones to welcome the city’s newest K9 officer to the force. Donations from local merchants and volunteer labor laid a cement slab in the backyard of Officer Nathan Lerma as part of a forever home for the city’s second police dog.

EDITOR"S NOTE: This is an edited version of the article that appeared in the print edition of The Beacon. We apologize for any errors in the initial effort.

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," said Dagna. "Many of those expenses are paid by our officers out of their own pocket."

She explained that the Guild also provides the foundation with a list of what the officers need or want beyond what the budget can provide.

Dagna praised the police for maintaining patrols that keep parks are a safe place for kids to play and for they protecting the surface streets so residents can come home to secure neighborhoods.”

“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.”

Together with donations from local businesses, the city poured the cement slab and paid for all the fencing materials. North Creek Roofing provided the roof and gutter materials,while embers of the foundation built the structure that Begira uses as his dog house.

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

The city also spent $1,000 to have Begira fitted with a Kevlar vest, but the foundation added funds 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 $1,200 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 police foundation 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.”

The chief, Dagna said, makes requests for donations from the police foundation for additional items not covered by the city budget.

Elwin 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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