Foundation helping to raise funds for $300,000 for OPD Mobile Command Unit - February 24 2014

OSHKOSH, WI - The Oshkosh Police Department is seeking help to purchase a mobile command unit that officials say would improve public safety and communications in the city.

Click here Donate to the OPD Mobile Command Unit Fund

The Oshkosh Area Community Foundation along side city and police leaders launched a community fundraising campaign in support of the effort on Monday, Feb. 24.

Photo caption: The Oshkosh Police Department wants to add a mobile command unit, similar to this vehicle, to its fleet to provide more effective policing at incidents and events, as well as improve neighborhood outreach.

The $300,000 vehicle, a 36-foot truck equipped with state-of-the-art communications technology, will be used as a command post at major incidents, such as crime scenes or natural disasters, and events, and for neighborhood outreach efforts.

Oshkosh, known as Wisconsin's Event City with more than 1 million visitors annually, has 200 special events that police are involved with each year.

"The focal point of any incident command structure is a command post. This vehicle allows us to set off a command post at any event and allows us to more effectively police those events," said Scott Greuel, Oshkosh chief of police.

The department competes with seven police agencies for use of Winnebago County's emergency management vehicle. Greuel said it's rarely available for use at major events.

Greuel said that as a neighborhood outreach tool, the mobile command unit will play a role in problem-solving strategies and its presence would foster interaction with residents of all ages.

"Our mantra is to 'know us before you need us' and I think that this (mobile command unit) will help to personalize our service to the community so that we're not seen as the sterile law enforcement entity that only responds in an emergency or a crisis," Greuel said.

"We hope to develop relationships and for people to invite us into their neighborhoods. We believe we can grow stronger and as a safer community neighborhood by neighborhood."

The City of Oshkosh has budgeted up to $106,000 in its Capital Improvements Plan for the mobile command unit. The department has partnered with the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation to raise the remaining $194,000.

"We believe the Team Policing strategy is making a difference in our community as residents are telling us they feel safer in their own neighborhoods," said Mark Rohloff, city manager. "The timing is right for us to find ways to further engage our residents, and the mobile command unit is an absolute priority for our police department to reach out more effectively. With budgets as tight as they've been and other critical infrastructure needs, we have to rely on the generosity of our community to bridge the funding gap and get this done."

The campaign will extend through the spring so the vehicle can purchased for use at major events this summer.

"The police department, with its community policing philosophy, is fostering a deeper sense of community engagement in Oshkosh, and this vehicle will not only support and enhance that work, but also support initiatives that the Foundation is already involved with, like neighborhood and economic development and the heroin taskforce," said Diane Abraham, the Foundation's president and chief executive officer.

Abraham noted that many successful projects such as the otter exhibit at Menominee Park Zoo and Pollock Community Water Park have been completed thanks to public-philanthropic partnerships with the Foundation.

"The Foundation is a powerful resource that can leverage the work of public entities like the City of Oshkosh with resources that support these emerging needs," Abraham said. "We look forward to making this another successful project that will make Oshkosh a safer, and we feel the community will get behind it, too."

To make a donation, mail checks to:
Oshkosh Area Community Foundation
230 Ohio Street, Suite 100
Oshkosh WI 54902-5894
Please include Mobile Command Unit in the memo line of checks.

To pay by credit card, please call 920-426-3993, or go to www.OshkoshAreaCF.org, and click on the mobile command unit image on the home page or enter Oshkosh Police in the search bar.

About Us
The Oshkosh Area Community Foundation is a nonprofit charitable organization created by and for the people of Winnebago County, Waushara County, Green Lake County and Ripon. Through charitable giving, the Community Foundation strives to make our communities thrive. For more information, please call 920-426-3993.

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