The following article was published in the East Idaho News by Rett Nelson on Dec. 3, 2021.
IDAHO FALLS – Business leaders throughout eastern Idaho are joining forces to support local law enforcement.
Bank of Idaho CEO Jeff Newgard is the board chairman of the Greater Idaho Falls Police Foundation, a nonprofit organization that launched about eight months ago.
Newgard tells EastIdahoNews.com the new foundation will provide support, resources and financial assistance for the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office, the Idaho Falls Police Department and the District 6 office for the Idaho State Police.
“We’re seeing budgets for police forces dwindle … and we wanted to step in and help our police forces, the people out on the streets protecting us. Not only them, but their families (as well),” Newgard says.
The ways this foundation helps law enforcement will vary as specific needs are identified. Assistance could come in the form of grants for new equipment, additional training, mental health services or by simply providing food, fuel, coats, clothes and other resources for those with an immediate need.
The founding of this organization stems from Newgard’s ongoing relationship with law enforcement over the last several years. He started riding along with Idaho Falls Police officers once a year when he first came to town six and a half years ago. As he’s witnessed firsthand the efforts of these men and women, he says they’re a blessing to the community and any praise given to them is not adequate enough.
“We are so lucky to be able to sleep safely at night because those officers are out there working hard to protect us,” Newgard explains. “I believe it’s our duty as citizens to serve them as well and to give back.”
Newgard says IFPD has also been supportive of the financial industry and the Bank of Idaho and is quick to respond to threats and other concerns that arise.
The Greater Idaho Falls Police Foundation is funded entirely by donations. Despite launching earlier this year without fanfare, Newgard says there’s already been a tremendous response from Ball Ventures, Melaleuca, Bank of Idaho and other organizations.
Since its establishment, the foundation’s board members have also donated hundreds of hours of time to help the organization take flight.
Going forward, Newgard hopes to see the nonprofit gain more prominence in the community and become a major fundraising force for law enforcement.
“Having effective law enforcement is vital for a safe community and helps provide a high quality of life,” Ball Ventures’ Chief Development Officer and GIFPF vice-chairman Eric Isom says in a news release. “Our police officers and department staff need our support.”
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