Fort Bragg, CA – Oct. 9, 2012: The hunt for fugitive Aaron Bassler last year was handicapped because no local police agency had a tracking dog that could follow a scent in the woods. But that deficiency has been cured, thanks to charitable donations by hundreds of Mendocino County citizens.
The sheriff’s new bloodhound “Red” will meet the public on Saturday, October 20 at 11 a.m. at Noyo Harbor barbeque area on Harbor Drive, Fort Bragg, in a Public Safety Appreciation Barbeque. Red has recently returned from training school and is ready to track fugitives, find lost persons, and do any other public safety duties that require an amazing sense of smell.
The October 20 barbecue is a benefit for the Mendocino Public Safety Foundation, a non-profit that was set up in 2011 to raise funds to help local law enforcement and to build stronger ties between peace officers and the public they serve. The Foundation’s first grant paid for Red.
Another purchase by the Foundation will be greeting the public too. This is “Avatar,” a tactical robot that allows police to enter and search a crime scene without endangering personnel. Avatar can take video, talk and drive by remote control.
Another highlight of the barbecue will be a demonstration of K-9 dogs in action seizing and restraining a “suspect.”
The event will be hosted by Sheriff Tom Allman, who has worked closely with the Public Safety Foundation to identify needs of local law enforcement that citizens can help meet with their tax-deductible donations.
A full barbeque lunch will be prepared by Savings Bank of Mendocino County employees, with supplies donated by Harvest Market. Tickets are $10 per individual and $25 per family and are available at the door and at Harvest Market. A previous Public Safety Appreciation Barbeque in Redwood Valley October 7 drew 150 people.
“This gathering will be fun and it will let folks show their appreciation for our law enforcement professionals,” said Ross Liberty, president of the Public Safety Foundation.
It will also be part of the first annual meeting for the Foundation, which has more than 200 local member/donors. The Foundation is recognized as a 501(c)(3) charity by the federal government and it has a policy of using 100% of public donations for grants to the sheriff and local police departments, without any deduction for administrative expenses. All administrative services are provided without charge by volunteers, and costs like mailing and events are paid separately by local supporters.
The Foundation’s chairman is former county supervisor Jim Eddie of Potter Valley.
Looking to the future, the Foundation has set a goal of raising $20,000 to fund law enforcement in providing security for citizens’ volunteer cleanups of trash and chemicals left behind by illegal marijuana sites on public lands.
The Foundation’s website is ProtectMendocino.org and can be reached at 467-3661.