Times have changed for police in Baltimore. It is tougher now than ever before to be a police officer, but the need for a strong police force has never been greater. The Baltimore Police Department is short hundreds of police officers and those in the ranks are retiring at record levels. Baltimore needs police officers who feel supported and are committed to the safety and quality of life for its citizens.
The Signal 13 Foundation Board made the bold decision to launch a $5 million endowment campaign to secure the legacy of Signal 13 and its impact on police families for years to come. The Baltimore Police Department continues to struggle with recruitment and retention of qualified police officers who often leave the department after a couple of years to work in nearby jurisdictions with higher pay. With your support, the Signal 13 Foundation can help reverse that trend by providing more resources for our first responders. Retaining qualified and experienced police officers should be a priority for everyone who cares about Baltimore.
The Signal 13 Foundation was founded in 1983 to support Baltimore Police and their families with financial hardship grants and scholarships. It is an independent nonprofit that is not affiliated with the Baltimore Police Department or the Fraternal Order of Police. Every dollar of support comes from individual donations, foundations, and corporate grants.
The average salary for Baltimore Police officers today is $60,000 which is below the national average. Today, police work under challenging conditions and their modest salary often does not match the critical responsibilities they take on. A high percentage of work is dangerous, and they often risk their life to protect a stranger with little reward or recognition.
Signal 13 has come to the aid of hundreds of police families who need support. Most recently, the Foundation helped to buy a mobility van for a police sergeant who lost the use of his legs after being shot outside his home. Signal 13 also provided critical support to a young father severely injured in a training exercise who is struggling to pay his mortgage; and Signal 13 was there for a sergeant who was shot while trying to save the life of others. The department is hailing him as a hero.
These brave men and women are also parents with children on track to go to college. Tuitions continue to increase at rapid speed, far outpacing wage growth, and families are feeling the pinch. Student loans now make up one of the largest segments of the U.S. non-housing debt with no end in sight. Signal 13 fills an important gap for Baltimore Police families and lessens the financial burden of providing a quality education for their children.
Since 2010, Signal 13 has awarded more than $1.4 million in grants and college scholarships to the children of Baltimore Police personnel, both sworn officers and civilians. Signal 13 is unique and the only organization in the Baltimore area that does what Signal 13 does for these police families. Signal 13 can do even more with your help.
We owe a debt of gratitude to the brave men and women of the Baltimore Police Department who risk their lives to protect us. Please join Signal 13 in supporting Baltimore’s Police families. Together, we can make a difference.