Police unite to support children of U.S. troops
Press release from the National Association Citizens on Patrol
CORONA, Calif. — On Saturday, September 6, 2008, members of law enforcement from over 50 agencies, local and from across the nation, met at the Ninth Annual NACOP Conference and awards ceremony in Chino Hills, California. The purpose of the conference is to honor recipients of the organizations’ national police volunteer and officer coordinator of the year in addition to several other coveted awards.
Attendees of the conference were invited to bring with them an unwrapped toy for collection as part of the first ever “COPs for the Troops Kids” program, www.troopskids.org. The program was developed by the NACOP to help support the children of our troops deployed primarily in combat zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan. By the end of the conference, approximately $5,000.00 worth of new toys were collected directly from members of law enforcement, many of whom were unpaid staff volunteers representing their agency.
All the toys received during this initial collection period will be delivered directly to the Armed Services YMCA office at the 29 Palms U.S. Marine Corps base located in the high desert area of Southern California. The 29 Palms Marine Corps base is the largest Marine Corps base in the world. Each December the ASYMCA host a Christmas party for the children of Marines, Sailors and Soldiers, whose parent(s) mostly rank E-5 and below and as such are the lower paid members of the military.
According to the NACOP’s founder and president, Art Femister, “Many American’s are surprised to learn that pay for lower ranking enlisted men and woman, typically E-1 thru E-3, is almost at the poverty line. According to the U.S. Census Bureau statistics for 2007, the poverty threshold for a family of three, with one adult working, one non working spouse and one child (i.e. a solider deployed in Iraq with their spouse at home raising a child and not working) is an annual income of $16,689.00. An enlisted man or woman in the U.S. military at the rank of E-2 with two years of service earns $18,118.80 a year, which is only $120.00 a month above what the federal government considers the line of poverty in America. While there are housing and other special allowances that can add to a married and/or deployed enlisted persons pay, the bottom line is, with the high cost of gas, food and other expenses, it can be difficult at best to give their children the Merry Christmas they deserve. No member of the U.S. Armed Services should have to choose between buying food, gas or other basic living needs versus a few simple toys at Christmas time for their children. The goal of our “COPs for the Troops Kids” program is to create a nationwide campaign spearheaded by members of law enforcement to help support our brothers and sisters in harm’s way by supporting their children who miss them so dearly during this very special time of year, Christmas.”
Founded in 1999, The National Association Citizens On Patrol, based in Corona, CA, is a national non-profit organization dedicated to supporting Police Volunteers and their Coordinators. Today there are an estimated 75,000 police volunteers nationwide who are trained and supervised by their local law enforcement agencies. Many patrol their communities in uniform and marked patrol vehicles acting as additional "Eyes and Ears" for Police and Sheriffs Departments. To learn more about the NACOP, log onto www.nacop.org.