What hap­pens to money do­nated to Po­lice Who Care?

The Covington News - - Front page - AM­BER PITTMAN apittman@cov­news.com

The an­nual Fuzz Run is one of the top 5K races in the state. Wrapping up its 29th year, it is also one of the long­est-run­ning an­nual races in the state, with funds go­ing to the Po­lice Who Care fund. Now a pop­u­lar race for thou­sands of run­ners, the Cov­ing­ton Po­lice Depart­ment is mak­ing enough on the race to fo­cus on re­ally help­ing those who need it.

The race was al­most can­celed in the 90s, when it was cost­ing more to host it than it was bring­ing in, with only about 63 run­ners show­ing up each year. Ac­cord­ing to CPD Chief Stacey Cot­ton, it wasn’t un­til the last cou­ple of years that the Fuzz

Run re­ally started to gen­er­ate in­come, rais­ing $34,415 this year.

But what hap­pens with the money?

Po­lice Who Care Fund

The Po­lice Who Care fund and the Fuzz Run are two dif­fer­ent en­ti­ties. The Fuzz Run is the main fundrais­ing event for the fund.

Orig­i­nally started to help raise money to help lo­cal needy fam­i­lies with Christ­mas, CPD em­ploy­ees were urged to have money taken au­to­mat­i­cally taken from their pay­checks to go into the fund. Ac­cord­ing to Cot­ton, the de­duc­tion of funds still oc­curs, but the Christ­mas giv­ing has changed. Since the Rotary Club helps needy fam­i­lies dur­ing the hol­i­days, monies from the fund are given to the Ro­tar­i­ans ev­ery year to as­sist.

The fund be­came the ben­e­fi­ciary of the funds raised by the Fuzz Run in 1994. At that time, there was just $800 in the fund. There is now $111,484.49.

The fund also reg­u­larly sup­ports the New­ton County Spe­cial Olympics, Project Re­NeWal, New­ton County Min­is­ter’s Union Feed the Hun­gry project, Safe Cov­ing­ton Hal­loween Night, the Cov­ing­ton Y Part­ner with Youth, Ju­nior States­man, East­side High School Cheer­lead­ing, Wash­ing­ton Street Community Cen­ter, New­ton County Theme School, Re­lay for Life and the Su­san G. Komen 3-Day Walk.

But it doesn’t stop there. The fund has also helped fam­i­lies in the community. In the last two years, roughly $2,100 has been given (be­tween seven fam­i­lies) of Ge­or­gia po­lice of­fi­cers who were killed or died in the line of duty, two CPD of­fi­cers have been given as­sis­tance in funeral costs as­so­ci­ated with the loss of chil­dren. Of­fi­cers have also been as­sisted in costs of med­i­cal bills and travel for sick chil­dren be­ing treated at Chil­dren’s Health­care of At­lanta, with travel ex­penses to at­tend the funeral of close out-of-state rel­a­tives, and in the late 90s, the fund was able to help a lo­cal fam­ily fly to New York to get treat­ment for their child who was suf­fer­ing from a rare can­cer.

Cot­ton said that for years the Fuzz Run raised only about $1,500 a year and it costs around $30,000 to make the race hap­pen (with the ma­jor­ity of it go­ing to the pop­u­lar T-shirts).

As the pop­u­lar­ity of run­ning and of the Fuzz Run in par­tic­u­lar in­creased, so did the amount raised ev­ery year.

The funds are mon­i­tored by a board, com­prised of em­ploy­ees and of­fi­cers of a va­ri­ety of ranks from the CPD, and two cit­i­zens. Any­thing spent re­quir­ing more than $500 has to be ap­proved by the board.

Cot­ton said that since they are not used to hav­ing this much in the fund, there are talks about what to do with the money, such as do­nat­ing a large chunk of it to var­i­ous char­i­ties and or­ga­ni­za­tions, keep­ing a bal­ance of about $50,000 in the ac­count to pay for next year’s run and to be avail­able in case it’s needed by of­fi­cers.

“I’m tick­led that we have that kind of money avail­able to help,” said Cot­ton. “I’m very proud with what we’ve been able to ac­com­plish and do. It’s a tes­ta­ment to the men and women in this of­fice who truly care about this community.”

File photo /The Cov­ing­ton News

Thou­sands par­tic­i­pated in the 2012 Fuzz Run, and the pro­ceeds go to help of­fi­cers and groups in need.

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