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La Grande Observer Paper 08/20/14

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Home arrow Opinion arrow Our View arrow GOOD LUCK, CHAMPS, AT REGIONAL TOURNEY


The Union County Babe Ruth All-Stars are making believers out of a lot of


First, they swept through the district tournament, which La Grande hosted. Last week they made it through the North Oregon State Tournament in Hood River without a blemish. Now they're headed to the Pacific Northwest Regionals in Bozeman, Mont.

What an accomplishment for a team representing an area that hasn't had a Babe Ruth state championship in about a decade.

The team is on a roll and has surprised a lot of people, including Beaverton in the state championship game Sunday night. Who knows what they'll accomplish in Bozeman. But no matter how they do, they've already made their community proud. We wish them the very best.

Form police foundation

Across Oregon police departments are under attack, but this time not from criminals. Instead the culprit is the lack of funding that's needed for officers to get the job done.

As tax revenues decline due to an unstable economy, police departments are finding their budgets are shrinking, sometimes threatening public safety. One local remedy might be the creation of a Union County Police Foundation.

Across America police foundations are helping raise millions of dollars to provide law enforcement with the extras that have been lost as budgets are cut. The New York City Police Foundation, perhaps the oldest and largest police foundation, has been able to tap into the public sentiment since the 9-11 tragedy to increase public awareness and funding. The organization raised $6.8 million during the fiscal year that just ended, triple the amount they raised prior to the World Trade Center disaster.

In the past five years, at least 10 police foundations have been started around the country, including in communities such as Atlanta, Detroit, Omaha, and Oakland.

How are foundation dollars spent? The Portland Police Foundation has used some of its money to send the police chief and seven officers to a 10-day Spanish immersion course in Mexico. Other foundations use their money to enhance existing law-enforcement programs.

Perhaps a retired police officer could head up the job of creating a non-profit foundation under federal law. A local attorney might volunteer to do the necessary paperwork pro bono. Then a board of directors, mirroring our communities, could be formed and the foundation could get to work.

If the group could raise public awareness and generate $50,000 to $100,000 a year, law enforcement officers across the county would feel the support and be able to perform their jobs better.

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