Commentary: Jim Hill defends Scottsdale Shop with a Cop

There’s an old adage, “no good deed goes unpunished.”

Jim Hill

Jim Hill

Cynical I know, but given the inaccurate attack pieces that have been done on POSA’s Shop with a Cop programs, I see why these sayings stay around.

12 years ago when I became the president of POSA, we didn’t have two nickels to rub together as an organization. However, we had the drive to want to do good things in our community. That’s when we were approached by PFR, who had done fundraising for other police groups.

We understood that there was going to be overhead associated with fundraising such as; personnel, phones, rent, utilities, office supplies, etc. In our estimation it was better to have some money to take kids Christmas shopping versus not having a Christmas at all and getting the opportunity to interact positively with the police.

That first year we took about 60 kids from Scottsdale and Salt River and it was a good time, but not very organized.

That’s when my wife, Cindy Hill, stepped in as an unpaid volunteer. Cindy had experience as a university conference planner and when she saw our logistics, said “I can do better.”

And she did, the event was better the next year. The program grew every year. That’s when we started POSA Outreach our 501(c)3 charity, so that any donors could donate directly to POSAOUTREACH and avoid the telemarketers.

Along with having a nonprofit charity there are a lot of responsibilities and laws that need to be adhered to, so the POSA board voted to hire Cindy Hill as POSA Outreach’s executive director (I recused myself from the discussion and vote because of our relationship. Cindy’s responsible only for POSA Outreach, which means she has created, administered and fundraised for every program we do from the POSA OUTREACH side. She has absolutely nothing to do with the fundraising on the POSA side of the house.

For those who think her salary is some kind of aberration please understand that she makes about what a brand new police recruit makes, only she has a masters’ degree and decades of experience (she also receives no benefits, no retirement and no overtime. A little known fact is that she voluntarily cut her pay during the Great Recession so that the kids would never go without.

As to our current fundraising, we continue to use the same group PFR that we started with because they have always been responsive to our demands.  They know how we demand that our residents be treated, that every employee must be background checked and every call recorded. When you see big numbers thrown around, please understand that just like every charity endeavor there are overhead costs.

The callers have to be paid, and to be honest, I’d rather dig ditches than make phone calls for the average $10/hour that these folks get. Also, there are myriad ancillary costs that continue year after year; utilities, office supplies, phones, postage, etc.

After all of that comes out POSA gives money raised to POSA Outreach for programming. This is the new money flow that we instituted this year. In the past we found that POSA was buying things for POSA Outreach that then looked like overhead on POSA’s taxes and not programming costs on POSA Outreach efforts. We hope that we’ve solved that problem, but this is a work in progress and we will be reevaluating everything again in the New Year. We have also hired a CPA.

As our community donations have grown we’ve not only taken more kids to Shop with a Cop, but we’ve also added cops and kids from 16 police agencies.  We’ve created and funded other programs including:

  • Teen Shop with a Cop
  • Book’em
  • Kid Care ID Fingerprinting
  • Officer Needs Assistance 907 Fund
  • Back to School Shop with a Cop
  • Crime Prevention Programs
  • POSA Mascot
  • Shred’em
  • Scottsdale Gang Out
  • Aging Safely

You can check www.posacommunityoutreach.com for program information. We also sponsor many community events and groups like the Explorers with your donations.

It’s a shame that as one reporter told us, someone from City Council called the news stations to stir this story up. We know that politics is dirty but trying to tear down a group and smear reputations even though you’ll trample hundreds of kids to do it would even make the Grinch embarrassed.

If you want to ensure that none of your donation goes to any fundraiser go to www.POSAcares.com and you can donate directly to POSA Outreach the 501(c)3.

Editor’s note: Independent Newsmedia Inc. USA is a sponsor of the POSA Shop with a Cop Program

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