QUIETLY PROTECTING our lives, area law enforcement officers are painfully aware of the weight of the loss of one of their own in the line of duty and are equally in touch with the impact of crime and violence on children and families. Lt. James Wilkerson of the Shelbyville Police Department was inspired following a 2014 leadership conference to support them. With the commitment of the other officers in the department, the Shelbyville Police Benevolent Association (SPBA) was formed and got right to work assisting their neighbors.
The SPBA makes financial donations when a Tennessee officer is killed in the line of duty, assisting the family with burial costs. In the unfortunate event a Shelbyville officer is killed in the line of duty, special funds are dedicated to burial expenses. Other officers in Tennessee are aided when they encounter personal disasters, such as a home lost to fire or, most recently, assistance for two Waverly policemen who lost everything in last month’s floods.
Within the community, their Journeyman Program pairs struggling students with an officer on school walkthroughs for conversation and influence, and $2,000 scholarships are given annually to a student from Cascade, Community, and Central High Schools pursuing criminal science or law enforcement. Their Cops and Bobbers event this past May enabled 50 children from the community to spend a day fishing with officers and members of the Shelbyville Fire Department and Bedford County Sheriff’s Department. Thankfully, their association was recently able to help fund the return of a trafficked teenage girl safely back to her home in California. And with great delight, the members look forward to making Christmas brighter annually for children and families they encounter through their work.
Funded 100% by donations, the 501(c)(3) has almost 100% participation through voluntary payroll deductions and accepts donations from individuals and area businesses. The SPBA will never solicit donations and benefits annually from its 5/10k run/walk, the Police Fun Run, held the last Saturday in September. -GN