A 2012 nonprofit formed by four former Ormond Beach mayors is now known as the Ormond Beach Police Foundation.
The Ormond Beach Police Department received $100,000 from the Ormond Beach Police Foundation, a result of a gift donation by a local anonymous citizen, and the foundation is hoping to raise enough dollars in the community to match the donation.
The foundation was originally founded in 2012 by four former Ormond Beach mayors: the late circuit judge Dave Hood, Volusia County Council Chair Ed Kelley, Volusia County School Board Member Carl Persis and former state representative Fred Costello. It was then called the Ormond Beach Community Foundation, and at the urging of the late construction firm head Chuck Strasser, it aimed to address a wide variety of local needs such as providing community internet access to help students, finding paying summer jobs for interns and aiding the Halifax Habitat for Humanity effort, said Kelley in a press conference at the police station on Monday, Dec. 7.
The foundation was renamed to the Ormond beach Police Foundation a few months ago to focus on supporting law enforcement. Kelley, Persis and Costello still serve on the board of directors, where City Commissioner Dwight Selby serves as president.
“As a community, if we value public safety, we’ve got to step up," Selby said. "We’ve got to do this. We’ve got to figure out how to properly fund and support law enforcement so that they know that they’re valued, because what they do is extremely important to us.”
What the money will be used for
Selby said he is hopeful the community's match goal will be reached quickly to help fund several of the department's wish list items for 2021, including night sights for all officer weapons, ballistic shields, and more education and training for their officers.
Police Chief Jesse Godfrey said the department is already planning to send Lt. Thomas Elkin to the Southern Police Institute for a command officers development course, as well as bring in a de-escalation trainer for their officers. The department is excited, Godfrey said, as the amount of funds was "historic" in what has been a year marked by an ongoing pandemic, national social unrest and weekly protests at the Granada bridge.
“It’s been a very challenging year for us and this is probably the brightest spot in the year," Godfrey said.
The legacy of Hood and Strasser
Kelley said he's glad the nonprofit has morphed into what it is today. Taxes can only fund so much, Kelley said, and this effort goes along Hood's philosophy of "leaving the community better than you found it."
“There’s nothing that we could do that could positively impact our entire community than what we’re doing today." Kelley said.
There's always a need in the police department and these funds will go a long way to meet those needs, Persis said. His only wish was that Hood and Strasser could both be present to see their efforts come to fruition. Hood died in March 2019, and Strasser in January 2015.
“When we started, we never knew where this was going to go, but we knew we wanted to do something good, right?" Persis said. "And we wanted to help, and now we’re going to get there.”