When it comes to Greenville Police officers on a nighttime call and what they need to remain safe, the math doesn’t quite add up. Police Chief Ken Miller said officers need three items to be safe — a radio, a gun, and a light. The problem is officers only have two hands.
The newest fundraising campaign by the Greenville Police Foundation aims to help by equipping officers with lights that attach to their firearms.
The foundation, formed last summer, is a nonprofit organization formed to provide the police department with grants to buy equipment, provide specialized training, and fund employee recognition programs that aren’t covered under the department’s budget. Charlotte and Greensboro, both cities where Miller worked before coming to Greenville, have police foundations.
The foundation wants to raise $40,000 to equip 160 officers with the lighting systems and holsters. It costs $250 to equip one officer.
“High-risk, nighttime situations include many things happening at once — commands, covering your suspect, situational awareness, radio communication, handcuffs, and the lack of illumination,” Miller said. “There’s no time for overreaction or mistakes.”
The lights will allow officers to illuminate and secure their surroundings while still being able to communicate effectively, he said.
Donors to the foundation may specific whether they want their contributions to fund a specific project such as the attachable lights or be used by the foundation to provide grants to the Greenville Police Department. Individual, business, and corporate donations made to the foundation are tax deductible.
The foundation allows the department to accelerate the implementation of safety-based initiatives. Without the foundation, it could take the department several years to purchase new safety equipment or implement new training programs.
The foundation’s initial project funded officer training in crowd control management. That initiative came after a peaceful rally in downtown Greenville in July 2016 turned contentious when protestors threatened to shut down Interstate 385.