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11-99 Foundation answers officers’ call for help

Foundation assists families of California Highway Patrol officers in need; fundraiser set for May 8

Posted: April 5, 2009 12:10 a.m.
Updated: April 5, 2009 4:30 a.m.

CHP Sergeant Rick Miler stands by his patrol vehicle near West Ranch High School in Stevenson Ranch. Miler was one of several CHP officers who took part in the "Every 15 Minutes" program held recently at the school.

 
As we traverse the freeways that surround our valley, we know who to call when we’re in trouble and need help, but who can those helpers turn to in distress?

On Dec. 21, 2005 California Highway Patrol Officer Erick Manny attempted to stop a vehicle driving in excess of 100 mph on the I-5 freeway north of Frazier Park. During the pursuit, the patrol vehicle rolled multiple times and landed on a roadside embankment killing the 8-year veteran of the CHP.

Manny’s surviving family members and the families of eight other CHP officers who have subsequently died in the line of duty have all been recipients of financial assistance from The CHP 11-99 Foundation.

Formed in 1981, the CHP 11-99 Foundation is a nonprofit organization aimed at providing financial support to CHP Officers and their families in a time of need. The foundation takes its name from the CHP radio code “11-99” which means “officer needs assistance.”

“Several officers who work at the Newhall station have been recipients of 11-99 assistance,” said Sergeant Rick Miler, a 19-year CHP veteran working at the Newhall station.

In July 1996, Officer Ralph Casillas with the Newhall CHP station was shot in Valencia following a vehicle pursuit. When Casillas was hospitalized for his wounds, the 11-99 Foundation contacted Casillas’ family and offered help.  

“They go beyond what the state can do and look after the officer’s family,” said retired CHP Sergeant Harry Ingold. “If they get into some sort of trouble, that’s where the 11-99 steps in.”

Ingold was one of the first CHP officers to respond to the scene of the April 1970 “Newhall Incident” — a massacre in which four CHP officers lost their lives near the former site of J’s Standard in Valencia.

The recent death of four Oakland police officers is the deadliest event in California law enforcement history since the “Newhall Incident.”

Ingold said the 11-99 Foundation can provide important financial assistance especially for newer CHP officers and their families if medical bills, a lack of accrued sick leave, or other financial hardships become too much.

“They help them out in those areas to allow the family to continue on. It’s a great organization,” Ingold said.

While the “Newhall Incident” occurred more than 11 years prior to the formation of the 11-99 Foundation, recent episodes in the CHP’s history have provided ample opportunities for the foundation to aid families of fallen officers.

September 2005 through August 2006 marked one of the most devastating chapters in the CHP’s 80-year history. During that 12-month period seven CHP officers lost their lives.

While the CHP provides sick leave and other benefits to its officers and their families, the 11-99 Foundation can provide extra support and cover different types of expenses. In the past, this support has helped in cases of family illness, fire-damaged homes, and has provided for annual scholarships for children of CHP officers.

The additional financial assistance the 11-99 Foundation can offer is essential, said Santa Clarita Councilman Bob Kellar.

“The monetary benefits are not sufficient to make sure that a fallen officer’s family is taken care of commensurate to their sacrifice,” said Kellar, a former LAPD officer.

The 11-99 Foundation is supported in part by membership dues. For a one-time fee, Lifetime Associates can become permanently-listed supporters of the foundation.

Joe Caso, president of Frontier Toyota in Valencia, is a local businessman and a Lifetime Associate of the 11-99 Foundation. Caso, who proudly displays his membership plaque in his local dealership, cited the high number of CHP officers who reside in the Santa Clarita Valley and the SCV’s proximity to the busy I-5 corridor among his reasons for supporting the foundation.
“We have an added responsibility to the families of these officers. They’re out there keeping us safe,” Caso said.

The CHP 11-99 Foundation will host an exclusive fundraiser and screening of the new Star Trek movie at the Paramount Studios lot on May 8.

For more information visit www.chp11-99.org.

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