Memorial foundation helps VPD in funding purchases

Memorial foundation helps VPD in funding purchases by M. Jill Karolevitz The Vermillion Police Department will enhance its equipment and uniform budget, among others, with the help of funds raised by the Jimmy Wilson Jr. Foundation of Omaha, NE.

The foundation is currently seeking donations in Vermillion to help the police department purchase needed equipment. One hundred percent of the proceeds will stay in the community.

The Jimmy Wilson Jr. Foundation telephones residents and those who are interested receive more information, a phone number to call if there are further questions, and an address to mail their donation. When the VPD needs to use the money, it applies to the foundation for the amount necessary.

�They do not ask for credit card numbers or other financial information over the phone,� said Police Chief Bruce Plate. �The public can be assured that this is a legitimate organization.�

The foundation was started by James Wilson Sr., in memory of his son, Jimmy Wilson Jr., a third generation police officer who was killed while on duty on Aug. 20, 1995. The younger Wilson had been with the Omaha Police Division for a year and a half and while making a routine traffic stop, he was gunned down with an assault weapon fired by the person in the vehicle. Wilson was hit 11 times. Officers responding to the scene found Wilson dead in the front seat of his cruiser with his seat belt on and the radio microphone in his hand.

According to the foundation, the Wilson family felt a need to make something positive happen from the tragedy. They created the Jimmy Wilson Jr. Foundation on Aug. 31, 1995 as a private, non-profit trust to receive, administer and distribute income exclusively for the enhancement of public safety. The foundation raises private dollars to provide training and equipment beyond the capacity of a police department�s normal operating budget.

During its first five years of existence, the foundation has donated over $1.2 million in life saving and safety enhancing equipment to different agencies in both Nebraska and Iowa.

The VPD is making plans to purchase equipment with locally raised funds.

�We may need to replace video cameras in our cars,� Plate said. �There are several that are out for repairs right now. They are a very high-maintenance item. A dicta-phone for incident reports is another possible purchase, as is replacement bullet-resistant vests.�

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