Ukiah, CA – Jan. 28, 2012: The Mendocino Public Safety Foundation will make its first $16,000 in grants to local law enforcement to help acquire a bloodhound and a multipurpose search robot. Responding to requests from local law enforcement, the grants are being made using donations received since November from hundreds of citizens and contributions of $1,500 from Northern Aggregates and $600 from the North Coast Builders Exchange.Press Release – Jan. 28, 2012:
Sheriff Tom Allman told the Foundation that a bloodhound will be able to find fugitives and lost people, and additionally detect drugs and contraband. He says that having a bloodhound available locally would have been an important asset in the recent search for Aaron Bassler on the Coast. Sheriff Allman stated that “adding a bloodhound to the Sheriff’s Office K-9 Division will allow us to search for fugitives and missing persons. We will be working with the three local police departments as well as our neighboring counties to assure that our deputy will be able to assist in times of need.” Mendocino County asset forfeiture funds will be added to the Foundation’s $4,000 grant for the dog, to cover training and upkeep expenses for the animal.
Ukiah Police Chief Chris Dewey submitted a request for funding in cooperation with the Willits and Fort Bragg departments for a Robotex Avatar tactical robot, which is a rugged high-tech tool used by dozens of police departments to resolve dangerous situations without risk to officers. The Foundation grant will cover $12,000 of the anticipated $27,562 cost of the robot. The robot can be thrown into a building, right itself, and then maneuver by remote control throughout the interior, even climbing stairs. It provides video and audio surveillance and can detect hazardous materials. An arm on the robot can grasp and remove materials, such as potential bombs.
Chief Dewey anticipates that the robot will provide vital assistance in bomb scares, hostage situations, and hazardous chemical spills. “It is only through the efforts of the Mendocino Public Safety Foundation, that our police agencies could afford this tool. Tools like this help safeguard officers, and are vital in helping us serve our communities. I speak for all our officers and their appreciation to both the foundation and our community for donating these essential funds to assist law enforcement. Thank you. ”
“We’re delighted to be able to help the sheriff and police acquire these tools,” said Ross Liberty, president of the Mendocino Public Safety Foundation. “This is how voluntary donations from the public can make our peace officers safer and more effective.”
The bloodhound will be owned by the sheriff’s department and the robot by the Ukiah police, but both assets will be fully available to all local law enforcement agencies when they are needed.
The Foundation, an IRS-recognized charity, was organized in 2011 to raise private funds to assist local law enforcement, which has been hard-hit by government budget cuts in recent years. The Foundation is especially interested in helping acquire equipment and supplies that will increase the safety and effectiveness of sheriff’s deputies and city police officers. Following a fund-raising mailer in November, the Foundation is continuing to accept donations from the public, including local businesses. Donations are tax deductible, depending on the donor’s individual tax status.
Unlike some other entities that solicit funds in the name of law enforcement, the Foundation pledges that 100% of every dollar given by general donors will be passed on in grants to local law enforcement. All Foundation personnel are volunteers, and fund-raising costs are funded by separate donations received for that purpose. The Foundation is governed by a Board of Directors headed by Jim Eddie of Potter Valley, a former County Supervisor.
Donations to the Mendocino Public Safety Foundation can be mailed to P.O. Box 123, Ukiah CA 95482, or made through PayPal on the Foundation’s website, www.ProtectMendocino.org. The Foundation can be contacted by email at donate@ProtectMendocino.org.