In a time of need, the police department is always there.
And one organization, the Arvada Police Department’s Northey Foundation, a nonprofit created by members of the department, is celebrating that fact as 2016 marks the 20th anniversary of service for the families of deceased or injured officers and Arvada students.
“We want to honor our fallen officers. It comes back to the concept of ‘never forgotten,’” said Jill McGranahan, public relations coordinator for the Arvada Police Department.
Michael Northey, an officer with the department, was killed when he was struck by a vehicle while responding to a drunk driving call in 1973. The department gave money to his family to help cover any costs they incurred and serve them during their time of need. In 1996, money still remained, and former Police Chief Ron Sloan decided the best way to honor Northey’s memory was to create a foundation that would honor and take care of families of officers in need while serving Arvada’s youth with money for college.
“Northey was a great officer and he cared deeply about youth, and it’s important for us to carry on his legacy,” McGranahan added, talking about the growth of the scholarship program. “We used to give three or four scholarships out each year; last year we gave out 11. We continue to grow that year after year so we can help more kids.”
Scholarships are available to any high school senior looking to enroll in college in the fall. The application process is open now through March 16, and will be awarded at the city’s Police Awards in May.
“The Micheal Northey Foundaiton helped me a lot, it helped me strive for greatness in school because I knew that they had my back, so I wanted to show them that I can do well as they paved the way for me to go to school,” said Robbie Blair.
Blair was a $2,000 scholarship recipient last year. He is now enrolled in the University of Northern Colorado for math education.
For the Arvada Police Department, serving other officers from departments around the state and country is second nature. In 2015, the foundation gave money to the family of Jamie Jursevics, a Colorado State Patrol officer who was killed while attempting to stop a drunk driver.
“We’re a part of that blue family, and we will always watch out for them (other agencies) and help them,” Colorado State Trooper Josh Lewis said. “In this case they (the Northey Foundation) have been instrumental in helping us not only remember Jamie, but by helping to serve her family, and helping them heal.”
McGranahan added that the concept of honoring the memory of yesterday is extremely important to keep at the front of the mind, reminding people of the sacrifices these officers made for the community and the City of Arvada.
“There’s a vocal minority that may be against the police profession, but when it comes down to it, with a tragedy, we really do have the support of the vocal majority who will back us up and show us support in these difficult times,” Lewis continued. “... We hope that people remember that we are actually human beings behind this badge.”