Creating a Safer San Diego

Sdpd police officers with young community members and a mobile odor detection canine for safety for all series

“Safety is something so basic to life that every human craves it,” states Sara Napoli, President and CEO of the San Diego Police Foundation. “Yet, our safety is often something we often take for granted – until it is threatened. Safe neighborhoods are the underpinning of all that we hold dear: our families and friends, our businesses, and the way we live our lives. This is something we should all care about.”

The goal of the San Diego Police Foundation is simple, yet essential: to create a safer San Diego. That means safety for ALL who live, work, and play in San Diego. Funded by community contributions since its founding in 1998, the Police Foundation funds equipment, training and outreach programs vital to creating safer communities. The Police Foundation does not fund weapons, or anything already supplied by the City budget.

Crime prevention benefits those most at risk, such as victims of domestic violence and violent crimes, children and the elderly. Yet, the interests of everyone in San Diego are served by a region that is safe, peaceful, and secure. In this past year, the Police Foundation funded several key initiatives for SDPD including a handheld narcotics analyzer that detects tiny amounts of deadly fentanyl and other illegal substances to protect community members and officers.

The LifeSAVER Campaign, a five-year effort to supply 1,141 plate carriers, also known as rifle-proof vests, was completed. Now, every patrol officer is equipped with this critical life-saving equipment when they run toward danger to keep us safe.

The Resuscitation Campaign successfully funded 1,000 resuscitation kits, or air mask bag units, for distribution to patrol officers who are often first on the scene in a medical emergency. This equipment protects both the rescuer and the one being rescued from the health risks inherent in the exchange of breath.

SafetyNet: Smart Cyber Choices, currently in its 14th year, is available to conduct presentations for attendees of all ages on internet safety, both in-person and virtually. The program has already impacted 7,687 participants in the 2022/2023 school year to date, and 274,276 since its inception.
To support women’s leadership in the police profession, scholarships for specialized training were awarded to empower current and future women in blue so that SDPD can continue to lead the nation in the percentage of female officers in its ranks.

In addition, the Police Foundation funded two specialized canines with superpowers of smell: one for bomb detection and the other for officer wellness. The Bomb Detection Canine is specifically trained to sniff out the presence of a wide variety of explosives to keep large crowds, events and conferences safe from potential threats. The Wellness Service Canine is the police department’s first psychological support dog for mental health and can smell anxiety, sadness, anger, fear, and stress, helping officers, civilian professionals and their families.

A strong police department and a strong community go hand in hand. By providing programs that enhance police-community relations and supplying vital equipment needed by police officers to do their jobs safely and with excellence, the Police Foundation builds trust between peace officers and the neighborhoods they serve, as well as increasing officer safety and community well-being.

A gift of any size is warmly welcomed at or by calling Cathy Abarca at (619) 232-2130 ext. 110. Your generosity will propel our mission to create a safer San Diego for ALL.

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Esteban Villanueva