More than $107,000 has been raised and donated to the Officer Down Fund in the wake of the shooting of Columbia police Officer Molly Bowden.
The fund was organized within days of the shooting “in response to public questions of ‘What can we do to help?’” said Columbia attorney Dan Atwill, treasurer of the Columbia Police Foundation.
“It has been an overwhelming response initiated by individuals, not by police officers or the foundation,” Atwill said.
Several benefit events, including a comedy show at the Déjà Vu Comedy Club, a silent auction and an elementary school fund-raiser, have helped to bolster the fund that gives aid to officers injured in the line of duty. The barbecue and silent auction held Feb. 20 raised $24,000 alone.
“These things have been spontaneous (acts) by members of the community,” Atwill said.
The fund is intended to help with future expenses of officers who suffer major injuries while on duty. The exact guidelines for fund use have been discussed but not formally adopted by the Columbia Police Foundation, Atwill said.
A blood drive was also held in honor of Bowden within a week of the shooting. The one-day drive in Columbia yielded more than 300 units of blood.
“Was it more than we expected? Yes. Was it more than we needed? No,” said Red Cross spokesman Jim Williams. There is an almost constant need of blood donations, he added.
Bowden lost so much blood the night she was shot that extra units had to be rushed in from St. Louis.
“Emergency situations bring the constant need for blood close to home,” Williams said.
Individual donations to the Officer Down Fund continue to arrive, and at least one fund-raiser is ongoing. Mid-America Harley Davidson has provided a motorcycle for a raffle which is in progress.