Police and Firefighters Ask Public for Monetary Help

Police and Firefighters Ask Public for Monetary Help
By: CJ Cassidy

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - Most of us know the dangers police and firefighters put themselves in everyday to protect us.
Three years ago, citizens in Cape Girardeau voted to pass a quarter cent sales tax to raise salaries, buy gear and improve buildings to promote public safety.
Despite that tax generating more than $ 2 million every year, authorities say they're still coming up short.
Police and fire crews are working together visiting a lot of area businesses hoping to get them to donate money.
Heartland News followed along, to find out what you think of the idea.
"We've got the public safety foundation kicking off in Cape Girardeau with the police and fire department to ask people to donate to if they feel like doing it," said Sgt. Barry Hovis with the Cape Girardeau Police Department as he spoke to one business owner.
Police and fire crews don't often ask for anyone's help.  This is the exception.
"It will help us with more training.  Training we weren't going to get, to go out of state.  The budget is so tight," said Capt. Charles Brawley with the Cape Girardeau Fire Department.
"There's nothing wrong with donating more, but I'm curious why they don't have enough money," said Sean Wibbenmeyer, a downtown business owner.
That's the question some of you probably have.  Why are emergency crews still feeling the heat, despite the $ 2 million coming in through a quarter cent sales tax in Cape Girardeau?
"Even when the tax was passed, we knew it wasn't covering everything.  There's going to be other needs," Brawley said.
Police Chief Carl Kennison said those needs include buying more protective gear and equipment for officers and firefighters.
Now they hope they won't have to sweat bullets over bringing in more money by appealing to you.
"It's the community's job to help, and we'll do what we can," said Bob Neff of Ford Groves who pledged his support.
Jennifer Drury owns a business in Gordonville but she lives in Cape.  She's glad to help put out fires in her own way.
"I have friends and family who are police officers and firefighters.  They need more equipment, and all kinds of supplies that would protect them and also motivate them to do better in their jobs," she said
Officers won't be going by homes,just businesses, but they do plan on calling some folks who have donated money in the past to let them know they now have a public safety foundation they've created to take in donations.
The money that comes in will be divided up between police and fire and spent on an as need basis.