By Cela Dorr, Contributing Writer
Westborough – Amidst the usual pleasantries and small talk with some members of the police department in the spring of 2019, Maureen Johnson and Maura Shunney realized that they had the skillset and know-how to help support some of the department’s goals. Deputy Chief Todd Minardi and Detective Sergeant Steve Tompkins had discussed how other towns in the area and throughout the U.S. have formed foundations that not only enhance the needs of a police department, but also become part of a network for families of officers who become injured, sick or fallen in the line of duty. Considering the extensive experience Johnson and Shunney had in nonprofit work, coupled with the deep commitment of Minardi and Tompkins to its inception, it took only weeks for the Westborough Police Foundation (WPF) to go from idea to reality.
Like a well-trained team, they knew their tactical moves: establish a Board of Directors and file the appropriate documents to gain 501(c)(3) status. Board members were each recruited personally by the four founding members in order to create a highly functioning team get this project going. The early meetings between the founders and their new recruits focused on establishing their mission statement and areas of focus: community, training, safety and service.
The initial goal of WPF is to provide funding for a state-of-the-art shooting range and training facility for the department, which would eventually open to the other regional police departments, on a fee-for-use basis. Although the final cost of the facility is a bit of a moving target, early quotes have it in the range at several hundreds of thousands of dollars. The WPF operates separately and distinctly from the town department and monies raised are not to supplant the department’s operating budget, but instead will go toward one of the four areas of focus.
According to a memo, the foundation’s mission is “to implement innovative programs, enhance officer training, purchase advanced technology and build our sense of community that will make Westborough a safer place to live, work and enjoy life.”
Their first fundraiser in September 2019, called a “Blues Barn Bash” netted the Foundation around $15,000 through raffles, silent auctions, food and beverages. Recently, Lowe’s provided heavily discounted prices for the foundation to purchase over 400 covered storage bins in order to help organize the station’s evidence room. The board is also currently working hard on plans for a Westborough Police Foundation gala to be held in the late spring of this year.