WILLIAMSTOWN -- The Williamstown Police Assoc iation (WPA) launched its annual fundraising campaign last week, with the goal of raising money for local community groups.
"We're always excited to help Williamstown and our neighbors," WPA President and Police Sgt. Scott McGowan said Thursday. "This provides us with an opportunity to serve the community in a completely different role. The more we can do, the happier we are."
McGowan said this year's campaign will feature a new addition.
"As a small token of appreciation, anyone making a donation will automatically be entered to win one of two prizes, which will be raffled off in the first week of December," McGowan said.
The first drawing will be to win a 15-inch by 19-inch framed, autographed picture of Boston Bruins forward Shawn Thornton, he said. The second will be to win a Thornton autographed jersey.
"He signed the jersey specifically for the WPA, once he heard it would benefit the community," McGowan said.
The WPA, which serves as the police union and acts as its collective bargaining unit, consists of 11 full-time, active Williamstown police officers, he said. The organization is mainly supported by membership dues and is affiliated with the Massachusetts Association of Police, the state's largest police union.
WPA members first discussed a public fundraiser in the mid 2000's, McGowan said.
"We thought if we're able to raise funds with the help of the community, then we could reach other causes," he said. "We don't feel like its the WPA helping the causes. It's the union, residents and businesses coming together for the benefit of Williamstown."
Since then, the WPA has contributed more than $40,000 to local organizations, he said, including the Williamstown Food Pantry, the Williamstown Youth Center, and the Cal-Ripken sports tournaments.
"The support we've received has been incredible," McGowan said. "It's just another example of how great Williamstown is."
The WPA also donates to the Berkshire Community Action Council (BCAC) Elf Program, he said.
"We sponsor children and families that are having difficulties during the holiday season," McGowan said. "We go out, we do all the shopping and wrapping, and deliver gifts to the council. Every year, we try to sponsor a larger family. "
McGowan said letters have been sent to Williamstown residents.
"The company we used to mail the letters didn't include a return envelope and did not personalize the mailing envelope," he said. "Presently it just says ‘occupant' of the address its mailed to."
To donate, make checks payable to Williamstown Police Association and mail to the police station at 31 North St., Williamstown MA, 01247. Donations can also be dropped off at the station.
To reach Edward Damon, email