Fundraising firm solicits fallen officer's family for donations

6:10 PM, Sep 12, 2007   |    comments
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Grand Rapids - A fundraising campaign by the Michigan Fraternal Order of Police is stirring up controversy in West Michigan. The organization has been cold calling people using the story of a slain Grand Rapids Police Officer as a way to raise money. The organization even called the Kozminski family by accident. On Wednesday afternoon, the Michigan chapter of the F.O.P says this is a real fundraising campaign. However, they didn't mean to solicit donations from the Kozminski family. They also say they didn't mean to offend any of the other people that they called. They say they were just trying to raise money for the family's of fallen officers. Carin Tunney, who works for WZZM 13 News got a call from the Michigan F.O.P at her home Tuesday night. She says, "They asked me if I was aware that a Michigan police officer from Grand Rapids had been killed and was 29 years old and left behind a 3 year old daughter." Tunney's mom also got a similar call. "She was uncomfortable because she felt like they were saying that she needed to donate to help the daughter out." Come to find out, the Kozminski family was contacted as well. Bob's sister and mother both received calls. The Michigan F.O.P says it was a mistake. The chapter's President, Sgt. John Kirkpatrick, says they have a fundraising firm that makes "cold" calls and they use a script to solicit donations. He says, "It makes reference to officers killed in the line of duty. Most recently we started using the script that makes reference to the Grand Rapids officer that was killed in the line of duty...although we do not use his name." But, people in West Michigan say they know who it is. Officer Kozminski was killed this past July. His death had an impact on the entire community. The F.O.P says that's why they plan to temporarily stop the calls in West Michigan. They didn't want to offend anyone. They plan to re-evaluate their fundraising techniques. WZZM 13 News talked to the Kozminski family. They say they wish they would have been asked about using Bob's death to raise money. They would not have given permission because they say they don't have the time to research every fundraising firm. The Michigan F.O.P says they donated about $2,000 to the Kozminski fund shortly after Bob's death in July.

Sarah Sell

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