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Cops and cowboys enjoy hoedown

Event: The 14th annual fundraiser for LAPD is held at Sierra Highway VFW

Posted: August 4, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: August 4, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Los Angeles Police Department Capt. Paul Snell introduces his officers and their families from the LAPD Van Nuys Area Division. The 14th annual Cops and Cowboys fundraiser was held at VFW Post 6885 in Canyon Country.

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It was a good old-fashioned hoedown as Los Angeles Police Department cops, their families and friends gathered for a boot scootin’ evening full of barbecue and dancing to good ol‘ country music at the 14th annual Cops and Cowboys fundraiser held at the VFW Post 6885 in Canyon Country. 

The auction-dinner-dance is the main fundraiser for Mid-Valley Community Police Council. The council’s mission is to support the Los Angeles Police Department’s Van Nuys/Sherman Oaks Community police station through donations of equipment and services.

“All I can say is, this was bigger and better than last year,” said Jean Sinatra, president of the council and main organizer of the event. “We knocked it out of the park! 

Sinatra said the second year at the VFW Post drew in more than 350 attendees who showed their support with great enthusiasm and Country Western style.

“The measure of success is twofold for this event,” she said. “There is no question that people had a great time, and this proved to be yet another bridge constructed between the LAPD and the civilian community.”

In fact, Sinatra said the event was on target to net more than $20,000 to be allocated for specific improvements to the Van Nuys Area Station. 

“The city only provides funds for basic supplies and salaries, which leaves little room for items like office supplies and upgrades to the station,” Sinatra said. “The proceeds will go towards much needed equipment, training and services needed for crime prevention.”

Also enjoying the event was Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese, who loves this particular fundraiser for a number of reasons.

“What’s behind the event is that it helps upgrade the community room in Van Nuys; last year, we got the officers car cameras and shotgun lights,” he said. “We are able to fund the junior cadets on leadership training and work with the youth in the juvenile system for the future — we do it because it is the right thing to do.”

“It’s a great event,” said Mike Moore, LAPD assistant chief. “It is always well-organized, and such a great connection between the community members with those who support law enforcement.”

The evening really got underway as the Ray Staley band played a set of classic country tunes, as guests bit on nearly 75 silent-auction items.

Folks also enjoyed delicious Western barbecue from Larsen’s Grill — steaming platters of barbecue tri-tip, chicken, garlic mashed potatoes and peanut coleslaw.

For the silent auction, one of the most popular items was lunch with Van Nuys Division Capt. Paul Snell, at Oliva Trattoria in Sherman Oaks that was won by Prudy and Dan Schultz.

Others eagerly bought tickets for the “Whoa Nellie” raffle prizes —Tom Edwards contributed the 40-inch TV and Industrial Chemical and Supply contributed an iPad.

In the true spirit of what keeps Canyon Country real cowboy country, the locals got into the spirit with some real hometown hospitality.

Once again, Ray and Tina House brought out their horses Durango and Spirit so folks could take a quick ride up rustic Baker Canyon Road. 

Also attracting attention was Roping Cowboy Carter, who brought his lariats and hay bale steers to teach the kids a bunch of cool rope tricks. 

Before the live auction, Joey Dillon, a world-class gun handler, put on a highly skilled and humorous show. He only dropped the guns a couple of times while flipping them over and under, above and behind his head.

The MVCPC boasts a number of high-profile members, among them early morning CBS 2 and KCAL 9 weatherman Josh Rubenstein, who is chair of the membership and outreach committee.

Rubenstein emceed the event and headed up the live auction with his colleague Jackie Johnson, who serves as CBS 2 weather caster on the station’s weeknight 5, 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts.

Among the popular items donated was a one on one game of hoops with LAPD Chief Charlie Beck; a private plane ride to Santa Barbara; a ride with LAPD Air support and a fly along with Sky 2 helicopter pilot Mike Case for the morning CBS news show.

Yet, clearly the most popular item was the warm and fuzzy puppy.

Lisa Ellis, of Channel Islands, won the adorable “Dexter” a 9-week-old purebred toy Australian Shepherd puppy for $600.
“We drove up I my Range Rover and when I saw that puppy, I said ‘I’m going to take that dog home tonight,’” Ellis said. “He will be a beach dog, we live on a boat.”

If there is anything that makes a cop look better than his uniform, it is boots, jeans and a cowboy hat. So it was appropriate that tall, dark and handsome training officer Brian Frost won the custom black Garth Brooks Stetson for $900.

“This is a great fundraiser for us,” said Rick Crivier, of Power Honda/Chevrolet of Valencia. “Outside of the Citizen’s Recognition luncheon at the Beverly Garland hotel, Cops and Cowboys is the biggest fundraiser for the group.”

Sinatra said there was no question that everyone loved the location and true spirit of the West.

“Our attendees represented a cross section of our membership (community and business leaders), sworn officers, LAPD command staff and members of the VFW community and of course the executive board of the Mid-Valley Community Police Council, and all were thrilled with the evening — that says it all,” Sinatra said.

The Mid-Valley Community Police Council is a nonprofit 501(C)3 organization dedicated to supporting the men and women of the LAPD Van Nuys Area Station for more than 30 years.

For additional information, contact Jean Sinatra, V.P., Community Outreach, (818) 988-8202 or or


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