In 1999, the Denver Police Officers Foundation was created to support the families of active duty Denver police officers injured or killed in the line of duty or facing other catastrophes. To replace the “pass the hat” for needs, founders recognized the need for a more systematic approach to offer relief. The Police Officers’ Charitable Aid Program was established largely supported by employee payroll deductions. Since its inception, this program has assisted nearly 400 officers and their families experiencing medical emergencies, house fires, funeral expenses and other crises.
Increasing community expectations, rising crime rates, budget reductions, rapidly changing equipment and technology and the need for a flexible funding option separate from the city budgetary process led the organization to partner with other community leaders. In 2003, the name was changed to the Denver Police Foundation and a Public Safety Program was added. This program was designed to serve as a liaison with the business community, citizens and the Denver Police Department on matters of public safety.
The Police Officers’ Charitable Aid Program and the Public Safety Program each followed their objectives: to provide officer relief and to provide equipment and programs to promote officer safety, crime prevention and community involvement respectively. Each program had a separate advisory board.
Because of the differences in objectives, it was determined in 2009 that the Denver Police Foundation should separate its two programs. The result was two foundations, the Denver Police Officers Foundation, providing officer and family support according to its original mission, and the Denver Police Foundation following its mission of enhancing public safety for the Denver community.
Now the Denver community has the advantage of two foundations, each providing critical services. The two foundations continue to work together for the good of the Denver Police Department and the residents of Denver.