As he became increasingly aware of the difficulties experienced by local law enforcement agencies across the country, Jeff Halstead could not stand by and watch. Having served in law enforcement for more than 26 years, the former chief of police for Fort Worth, Texas, thoroughly understood the ways community safety is adversely impacted by a lack of support for the men and women in blue. Residents of some neighborhoods were not only not supportive of local officers but were even hostile toward them.
A lack of funds poses the biggest problem. Many police departments are unable to provide their members with up-to-date training or supply them with needed safety equipment. Others found themselves making do with outdated technology, which no longer came close to meeting their requirements. It was during a lengthy trip overseas that Halstead hit upon a possible solution. He could form a national nonprofit that would work in unity with other charitable organizations for the benefit of law enforcement departments across the country.
“Our belief is simple," says Halstead, “and the 'blue' in our name (HOPE 4 BLUE) says it all: Backing Law enforcement Unites Everyone." As he further explains, this new nonprofit has four distinct missions. In addition to providing police departments with the advanced training many so sorely need, HOPE 4 BLUE will help them purchase more advanced equipment and offer financial aid to critically injured officers. As the final aspect of this four-pronged approach, the organization will enlist faith-based leaders and churches across the country in bringing communities together. “It’s a win-win proposition,” says Halstead. "We need to be united in our support for police officers."
Through the years, police departments across the country have found themselves face to face with escalating adversity. Early this year, the number of firearm assaults on police officers rose a staggering 300% over the previous year. Outdated technology that no longer does the job only adds to law enforcement’s burdens. When the crime-solving applications that should be helping are six or more years out of date, criminals become that much harder to collar. Furthermore, training and equipment budgets have plummeted, hampering the physical and mental advantages on which members of law enforcement depend. Such departmental deficiencies leave the police hard-pressed to deal with ever-increasing levels of violence in ways that are the least damaging to everyone concerned.
Once his organization has met its minimal goals, Halstead hopes to hire top consultants and subcontractors to assist in the group's vital training initiatives. While he anticipates that HOPE 4 BLUE will succeed in providing police departments with the financial assistance that they have sorely lacked in recent years, he has no intention of placing his not-for-profit in competition with similar charitable organizations. He hopes instead that HOPE 4 BLUE will serve as an adjunct to the others and to partner with them when possible.
Above all else, Halstead will not delay getting assistance into the hands of the neediest departments. "Our nonprofit plans to make 80 percent of all donated funds immediately available to the agencies most in need," he says. "There will be no red tape and no delays. Our aim is to make better technology and safer equipment available to police officers when they need it–right now."
About HOPE 4 BLUE
HOPE 4 BLUE is a nationally recognized nonprofit (501(c)3) whose affiliates aim to lend support to members of law enforcement in all 50 states. Its board of directors will meet quarterly to discuss the further development of its strategic vision. Members of the public are welcome to attend, and updates will appear on the organization's website within the following week. Those who wish to obtain more information or would like to make a donation can do so at the HOPE 4 BLUE Website, https://hope4blue.org/