A group of community leaders gathered in Slidell Police Chief Randy Fandal’s office on Monday evening to announce the launch of the Friends of Slidell Police Foundation, a nonprofit group created to provide the department with resources it does not receive from the city.

The FOSPF is modeled after similar foundations across the country in which donors become members of the foundation and contribute money at various sponsorship levels. Funds raised will defray the cost of programs such as the Slidell Police Department’s mounted division, its Kids and Police program, the K-9 division, reserve officers and tragedy funds to support local police in their hours of need.

The FOSPF also will help purchase high-tech equipment for local police and allow officers to participate in additional training programs.

The foundation’s mission is to “enhance safety, promote awareness, provide resources, and improve performance within the Slidell Police Department through mentorship, collaboration, citizen involvement and support in making Slidell a safer city for everyone.”

The city earmarks money in its annual budget to provide the department with operational funding to pay officers and buy vehicles and equipment. The FOSPF, however, acts as a fundraising arm for the department and can solicit donations that elevate the department’s internal and outreach capabilities.

Fandal noted, for example, that his mounted division assists at numerous events such as parades and festivals each year, but is funded entirely by mounted division officers. The Kids and Police program, which provides troubled youngsters with police mentors, had no real revenue source until the FOSPF was created.

“We couldn’t do any of this without this fantastic board of directors,” he said. “They have been truly amazing.”

The FOSPF was formed in earnest in late 2016 when Fandal, who had just been elected chief, and Carrie Calvin, a local accountant, discussed Fandal’s desire to create a police foundation.

Calvin, who previously co-founded the police-support organization 'Praying for Our Peacemakers' in Baton Rouge, agreed to recruit volunteer board members for the FOSPF, and she found a strong corps of leaders from area businesses, nonprofits and churches to assist.

“They always tell you that when you find your passion, it’s not work,” Calvin said. “At that moment (when we founded Praying for Our Peacemakers,) I found my passion ... I believe God has just kind of rolled this out for me; to help give back to these men and women who put their lives on the line for us.”

Joining Calvin on the board are Andrew Frisard, vice president; Pastor Donald Bryan, secretary; Kelly Burdett, treasurer; Rene Arcemont, public relations; Jack Francioni, Sonny Hodgson, Ron Newson and Heather Alongi.

Fandal is an adviser to the board, as are SPD Public Information Officer Daniel Seuzeneau, SPD Director of Training Eddie Lamulle; KAP Coordinator Cliff Laigast; Marvin Bordelon, of the SPD Mounted Division, and Fandal’s wife, Dania.

To officially kick off fundraising, the FOSPF will hold the "Blue Line Bash" on Jan. 19 at the Slidell Municipal Auditorium. Guests will enjoy premium food and drink selections, and Five Finger Discount will provide live music. Cost is $75 per person or $650 for a table of 10.

Tickets to sit with Chief Fandal and his wife at a VIP table (with waiter service) cost $150 each.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the party will be held from 8 p.m. until midnight. Dress is “resort casual” and the evening's theme is Blue & Black.

Individual tickets can be purchased online at www.eventbrite.com, and table sponsorships can be purchased at www.friendsofslidellpolicefoundation.org or on the group’s Facebook page.

Residents also can become a member of the foundation and make contributions on the FOSPF website.

For more information, call Frisard at (504) 512-1039 or Calvin at (985) 788-6534.