Charleston police on Wednesday announced the creation of a new fund that will use private donations to explore new crime-fighting techniques and technology.
Police Chief Greg Mullen said the fund will allow police to try experimental and innovative approaches to reducing crime that lie outside the constraints of the department's $38 million annual operating budget.
The fund will be administered by the non-profit Coastal Community Foundation. A 12-member advisory board headed by Medal of Honor recipient Maj. Gen. James E. Livingston will help decide how the money is spent, Mullen said.
Charleston's fund has $15,000 in its coffers so far. Police hope to grow the fund through private and business donations, as well as tapping into resources offered by other foundations.
Among other things, police want to expand their Camp Hope mentoring program for kids ages 7-14, offer more leadership development opportunities to officers and develop a "real-time crime center" that can analyze data as crimes occur and quickly ship information to officers in the field, Mullen said.
"We felt this would be an opportunity for us to enhance some of things we've been trying to do, and it's creating an opportunity for some public-private partnerships," he said.
Similar police foundations have worked well in New York, Los Angeles, Memphis and other cities, Mullen said.