Orange Police Foundation
Orange Police Foundation

Residents of Orange may notice a new officer on the streets who can sniff out a suspect and chase down clues.  His name is Jax, and he’s an 18-month-old German shepherd—purchased and trained with funds donated by the Orange Elks Lodge 1475 to the new Orange Police Foundation.

It’s the first of many ways the foundation will improve safety for residents in the city.

“My hope is that the foundation grows to great success far after I retire.  The foundation will benefit the department and our community,” says Orange Police Chief Dan Adams.

Police foundations exist throughout the country as a way for community members and organizations to financially support law enforcement agencies.  Because police budgets focus primarily on salaries and benefits, little is left over to cover equipment, training and outreach.

Adams established the foundation in October 2023, seeking a way to fund equipment not covered by public funds, as well as outreach programs.

Orange Police Department is comprised of 170 officers, who serve about 137,000 residents.  In 2023 alone, the department responded to more than 97,000 calls for service and handled more than 6,700 investigations.

The chief researched setting up a foundation, met with community leaders and established a foundation board of directors.  He recruited retired Orange police Sgt. Sean O’Toole, a 30-year veteran of the department, as board president.  The nine members also include Gaddi Vasquez, former U.S. Ambassador to Rome, director of the Peace Corps, chairman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors and Orange police officer, Orange Planning Commissioner Rick Martinez and former Mayor Pro-Tem Kimberlee Nichols.

“They bring many different viewpoints which form the strong leadership and oversight required for a successful foundation,” O’Toole says.  “One hundred percent of the board members financially contribute to the success of our foundation.”

The organization held a kick-off reception last September at the Grand Gimeno in Orange, surpassing its initial start-up goal of $100,000 in contributions.

The foundation’s first donation from the Elks Lodge paid for Jax, his training and training for his police handler, Officer Cates.  The dog underwent six weeks of training and has already started to work in the field.

“It’s a great start that puts our mission into action,” O’Toole says.

Business owner Gary Remland, who has worked alongside the Police Department through his roles in the Orange Rotary Club, the Community Foundation of Orange and The Hub OC, says he applauds the police’s work to increase safety through the foundation.

“We have had the good fortune in this city to have a very stable, well-trained Police Department. They are community-minded and are involved with many of the nonprofit organizations in this great city,” Remland says.  “We need to support them as they protect us.”

The foundation has begun reviewing the Police Department’s wish list and priorities, including technology improvements for wireless connectivity, and advanced technology to help with crime fighting.  Adams plans to propose a partnership with community-based organizations to create a Police Activities League, along with other youth programs and community outreach.

“Building relationships between youth and police officers will reduce crime and delinquency,” Adams says.  “It will also allow officers to get to know more kids, which can lead to greater trust and understanding in our community and help develop future leaders.”

The foundation will continue to cultivate partnerships in the community to help the foundation grow.

“There are so many people, groups and organizations that strongly support public safety and frequently ask what they can do to support the police department.  They recognize the important role of public safety and want to engage with us,” O’Toole says.

To support the Orange Police Foundation, visit

Article Published in the
Mar / Apr 24 edition of the Old Towne Orange Plaza Review
Written by Melissa Pinion-Whitt Photo provided by the Orange Police Foundation
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