The Police Activities League in Turlock is welcoming back an old friend as the Turlock Police Department looks to rejoin the fold and invigorate the fundraising efforts of the non-profit organization.
P.A.L. programs were started as an effort to prevent juvenile crime and provide mentorship to children in the community. In Turlock the organization was very active in the community and within the police department until a federal law brought an abrupt stop to officers volunteering their time to the organization. The Federal Labor Standard Act states that “public sector employers may not allow their employees to volunteer, without compensation, additional time to do the same work for which they are employed.” Since the P.A.L. program provides a benefit to the police department in the realm of community service, volunteering became a gray area for the officers that was best avoided. But Turlock Police Chief Nino Amirfar has a simple solution: he’s just going to pay the officers for their time.
“I believe this is an important program for the department to be involved in,” Amirfar said.
The P.A.L. program has been run by the Parks and Recreation Department and has received a yearly allocation of $24,000 from the police department.
“Parks and Recreation has done an excellent job with P.A.L.,” said Amirfar. The after-school program is huge, but we want to build it up and see it grow, especially in the summer when the kids need more activities.”
Amirfar is hoping to start with events like barbecues in the park and other “down to earth” activities that some children don’t have the chance to experience. Already the organization has contributed funds to the West Side Ministries for the soccer program and is considering refurbishing the pool at Columbia Park.
However, the first efforts will be to raise the funds that will pay for the activities. Several businesses have already signed on as sponsors and the organization is looking for more. They also have some fundraising ideas set into motion. The first is through T-shirt sales featuring a new P.A.L. logo designed by Pitman High student Geovanny Aceves. The shirts are $15 and are available through the Turlock Parks and Recreations Department. The second fundraising effort will be a softball game pitting the police and fire department teams against one another. Dubbed the “Battle of the Badges,” the game will be at 10 a.m. Aug. 25 at Pedretti Park. For more information on donating to the P.A.L. program or becoming a sponsor call 668-5594.