Thursday, December 10, 2009

McHenry County Police Charities

I was glad to learn today that the McHenry County Police Charities is back in Good Standing with the Illinois Secretary of State. They had fallen into the no-zone on October 1, when the Annual Report wasn't filed on time. That changed their Status to "Not Good Standing."

As of December 8 they are back in the good graces of the SOS.

I do wonder, though, why an Illinois charity is operating out of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department and using two telephone extensions of the sheriff's department as contact numbers. If you call either number, you will reach a paid employee of the Sheriff's Department. If that employee answers, she will be on-duty; i.e., at work. At least one of those employees is a Board member of the McHenry County Police Charities.

As an employee at work, that employee owes full time and allegiance of the duties and responsibilities of the Sheriff's Department, not to the McHenry County Police Charities. Further, office equipment and computers of the Sheriff's Department should not be used for any work of the Police Charities. All Police Charities records should be maintained off-site from the Sheriff's Department.

Since one of the names by which the Sheriff's Department is known, at least in some circles, is "McHenry County Police", not to be confused with the McHenry Police (Department), it is especially important to separate the Police Charities from the law enforcement arm of McHenry County.


Notawannabee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Notawannabee said...

What's your gripe Gus? You're acting like an old sour scrooge. Let’s talk about some goals. It seems anything regarding the Sheriff is bad and you condemn it. In your attempt to discredit this program , you’re climbing out onto those skinny branches. McHenry County Police Charities, also generically known as "Shop With a Cop" is a wonderful program and it brings cheer to everyone participating. Is your goal to be a spoiler on everything the police community does even in a benevolent manner?

So what if someone at the MCSO has the department phone listed for this? Are you suggesting that EVERY charity expends money to pay for a private phone number for the volunteers? To accomplish the needs of this program there must be contact telephone numbers available for the multitude of arrangements that need to be made. Charities survive on donated time. The key word is donated. The people organizing this program are all donating their time and must be easy to reach. Look at any major charity such as the United Way. You will see numerous business numbers listed. Ok you're going to retort, that they are private, and not public telephones.

Is some charity work done on the public dime? Obviously, the answer is yes. Are the Marines working on "Toys for Tots" doing it away from work? Food pantry collections conducted by Postal Mail Carriers, are they being paid? Does the use of a US Coast Guard ship and Guardsman bringing Christmas trees down from Michigan to the children in the Chicago projects fall under your scrutiny? How about the firefighters collecting money in fire boots while on duty, collecting for MDA?

In an earlier reply I made about seatbelts, I discussed goals and accomplishments. Well "Shop With a Cop" has many goals and besides the obvious heartwarming altruistic assistance to kids that would otherwise awaken to an empty Christmas tree or stocking. I know of no part of this program that runs counter to the public good. Exposing these children to the philanthropic softer side of law enforcement, letting them see first hand that cops don't just haul daddy away, but come in a time of need. It’s part of a goal. There’s that word again, GOAL.

Many of these children have never had a truly caring adult in their lives. "Shop With a Cop" fosters an awakening of hope, often rising from the sadness of despair. For some of these kids the gifts and warm clothes received will be all that they will get for Christmas. Oh, and who helped lift them up when they needed a helping hand? A COP! These kids learn that cops are helpful, kind people. When they return to school they can wear a nice coat and shoes, giving them some self confidence avoiding the laughter of other children. This program plants the little seeds of joys that germinate into many long term life changing positive memories. Besides the sincere desire to bring cheer to a child’s heart, there hopefully is a life altering result. The result is accomplishing a positive goal. What is this goal? Simply seeing a child grow up to be a productive adult with warm memories of Christmas, and of those that made it happen. Anyone that can not see the overwhelming good of this program and its close connection to achieving the long term goals is sadly missing the point.

Merry Christmas,


Gus said...

"What's your gripe Gus?"

My gripe was that the McHenry County Police Charities (MCPC) had allowed itself to enter and remain too long (more than two months) in the "Not Good Standing" category with the Secretary of State.

I don't have any problem with Shop with a Cop, although perhaps I should look into any on-duty time and use of vehicles by on-duty officers/deputies for children to "shop with a cop."

All the furor about my inquiry into the legal standing of the MCPC has resulted in an increase of my curiosity about how the program operates.

In my opinion, use of taxpayer-funded equipment and personnel by a charity, regardless of its good intentions and purpose, is not correct.

Nothing I have written discredits the program itself. Where did the organization fall down in terms of filing its Annual Report and paying the pittance of a fee to the SOS?

You mention that every charity needs telephones. Yep, you're right. And they have them. At their offices, not in government offices.

Employees at work aren't donating their time. They are donating their employer's time.

A USCG ship is transporting Christmas trees to Chicago? Wish I had time to chase that one down!