An article in today's edition of the Town and Country reports that the officers of the Upper Perk Police District are planning to participate in a local 5K run to raise money that will be used to help defray costs of new police uniforms.
It is a noble gesture by the officers to keep the cost to local taxpayers down, and the department should be thanked and commended for thinking about the expense, which could total $5,000. Not a hefty amount, but one the officers offer to raise.
The Upper Perk Police Commission's solicitor raised a question about whether the police commission should permit its officers to fund raise and a commission member suggested that fund-raising should be targeted not just for uniforms, but for all equipment.
Fundraising, especially by professionals for job-related items, is a slippery slope. It is always well-intentioned but can fall into disarray quickly. First, if the funds are raised in the name of the department for a specific purpose, you'll need accurate bookkeeping, auditing and reporting. Second, if any tax-payer paid employee is involved in any aspect of the fund, then a taxpayer accounting is in order. Third, if a police officer gets hurt during a fundraising event, the money you hoped to save will be gone and could be offset by an expense you didn't expect.
As the economy continues to stumble, many insurance companies are loath to cover activities that may or may not be sanctioned by the insured group. For instance, if a volunteer firefighter is struck by a car while collecting donations during a "boot drive" at a local intersection, is he covered by the municipality's worker's compensation insurance? You have to read the fine print of the policy to determine if this is a covered activity – and you may not like the answer.
To avoid unwanted circumstances that could arise and to lighten the burden of actively engaging in fundraising by the officers, the public can donate to the Upper Perk Police Association. It will help them and sends an extra message of support their way.
The police officers themselves contribute to their "Association" fund, which they set up to help with purchases – sometimes immediate needs – that weren't budgeted for. I don't know how many tax-payers know that; you don't hear about it too often and the officers deserve a tip-of-the-hat for their forward thinking.
The police officers do a fine job and deserve our support. That's why we will be sending a donation to them to help in their latest effort.
We encourage anyone who feels the same way to forward a check made out to Upper Perk Police Association, and send it to them at 88 West Sixth Street, Pennsburg, PA 18073.
Conflicts can be avoided and good intentions rewarded with a little extra research and the Police Commission is doing that. They pay the solicitor good money and when he raises a concern someone needs to follow up for the sake of all involved. With a little extra effort, the job will get done and everyone will benefit.
As the old proverb goes, "If a task is worth doing, then it's worth doing right."