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New police chief: Start foundation to help support department

Garry McCarthy

Garry McCarthy

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Updated: August 27, 2011 12:34AM

As the city struggles with a crippling budget crisis, Acting Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy is proposing to set up a police foundation that would raise money from private sources to support the Chicago Police Department.

McCarthy broached the idea Thursday during a meeting with representatives of foundations and businesses, but didn’t explicitly ask them for donations. Joyce Foundation President Ellen Alberding said she wasn’t surprised McCarthy raised the possibility during a broad discussion of police strategies. The Chicago Public Schools have a similar foundation, she said.

McCarthy was an invited guest at a dinner that also included representatives of the McCormick Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, Chicago Community Trust and the Fry Foundation — as well as Target and ComEd.

“All of the foundations want to figure out a way to coordinate,” Alberding said. “We’re all interested in children’s health and well-being and education. We’re all really concerned about youth violence. Having a good partner in the police department would be excellent.”

Earlier this month, McCarthy was hired from Newark where he was the police director. Before that, he was the head of crime strategy for the New York Police Department, which has been supported by a police foundation since 1971. The New York City Police Foundation bought the city’s officers their first bulletproof vests. Over the years, it has raised more than $100 million for over 400 programs, according to its website.

“It’s critical in these times that we look for alternative funding for things that might be cut,’’ said McCarthy, who pointed to new technology as an example of something they could raise money for.

The foundation’s current projects include Operation Gun Stop, which provides rewards for anonymous information leading to arrests for illegal possession of guns. The foundation also supports a counterterrorism operations center, NYPD firearms training and special units like the bomb squad and mounted unit. And it enforces the department’s valuable trademarks, including the letters NYPD and the NYPD shield logo. The foundation created a licensing program for the trademarks to provide revenue for the NYPD.

Other cities such as Philadelphia and San Diego have police foundations, too. Chicago has a police memorial foundation, but that is dedicated to honoring fallen officers.

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