Officers critical of fund-raising group

(ATLANTA, Ga.) -- Money brings Hal Bailey's police charity together with sheriffs and police chiefs in times of crisis. Money can divide them when times are quiet.

When a law enforcement officer has been injured or killed, Bailey said, he often shows up with a check in hand from the Georgia Coalition of Police and Sheriffs to help the families, and he's always received kindly.

Yet law enforcement leaders turn a cold shoulder to his fund-raising efforts. They said they have questions about the methods Bailey uses --- solicitations over the phone by professional fund-raisers --- and about how much of the money actually goes to charitable causes.

Bailey admits that only a small portion of the money raised goes to his group --- about 15 to 25 percent. The rest goes to TKI Inc., the professional fund-raising company that solicits the donations.

But he is stuck in a dilemma, he said. He wants to help. To help he has to have money. He has no way to raise money other than hiring fund-raising companies.

Efficient charities should get at least 65 percent of every dollar raised, said Daniel Borochoff, president of the American Institute of Philanthropy. The institute is a nonprofit watchdog group.

"You really have to be concerned about honoring the intentions of your donors, and most donors are not going to be pleased to see if they send in $ 100 that only 15 to 25 is going to make its way to charities," Borochoff said.

Terry Norris, vice president of the Georgia Sheriff's Association, said his group does not support Bailey's group or any other that solicits donations by phone.

"We don't have any way of knowing what they give," he said.

Cherokee Sheriff Roger Garrison said residents told him in October that Bailey's group was using Garrison's name in its phone solicitations. One of Garrison's officers called the solicitors and demanded they stop.

Bailey said he thinks the use of Garrison's name was a misunderstanding, either by the solicitors or by those called. He called TKI to make sure it was not using Garrison's name.

Garrison does not lend his name to charities, and he disapproves of Bailey's fund-raising methods.

"I would urge Cherokee County residents to never, ever give a penny to anyone soliciting for law enforcement organizations over the phone like that," Garrison said.

Bailey remembers a friendlier response from Garrison. He has a picture on the wall of his Conyers office of Garrison receiving a check of $ 500 from him last year. The coalition gave the money to the children of Deputy Dana Shaw, who died in a car accident.

"I'm not knocking legitimate charities,'' Garrison said. "I'm just opposed to the method they use to raise money."

Bailey said he is learning as he goes.

He started one organization called the Georgia Police Officers Association and signed a contract with a fund-raising company. In 1999, the company raised $ 700,000. His association got $ 41,627, or less than 6 percent.

The Georgia Police Officers Association was cited by Georgia Secretary of State Cathy Cox as an uncharitable charity.

Bailey, a retired DeKalb County police officer, said it was a hard-earned lesson. That organization and its reputation sit idle while he tries again with the newly formed Georgia Association of Police and Sheriffs.

In addition to continuing to help families of officers injured or killed, the coalition plans to offer training and equipment to small police departments that can't afford to pay for it.

He realizes that getting 15 to 25 percent of money raised to run those programs makes some people unhappy.

"I've caught a lot of heat as far as fund-raisers go," he said.

But he said the good work he is doing is worth it, and he plans to continue.

(iSyndicate; The Atlanta Journal and Constitution; Nov. 16, 2000). Terms and Conditions: Copyright(c) 2000 LEXIS-NEXIS, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights Reserved.

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