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Multi millionaire Frank McCourt, a Watertown native, donates $25k to police foundation

Posted by Jaclyn Reiss  May 30, 2013 03:45 PM

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The Watertown Police Foundation last week received a check for $25,000 from multi millionaire Frank McCourt, a Watertown native who formerly owned the Los Angeles Dodgers.

A spokesman for McCourt confirmed the donation.

The donation now accounts for about a quarter of the foundation's current gross revenue, which equaled about $75,000 before McCourt's donation, foundation officials told the Globe last week.

Police Chief Edward Deveau said that McCourt called the police station out of the blue and asked to swing by, which he did last Friday to chat with Deveau.

"He explained that he [and his siblings] grew up on Russell Avenue here in Watertown," and although McCourt's mother lives in New Hampshire now, "she still considers Watertown her hometown," Deveau said. "When she saw everything play out on TV, she called Frank up and said we as a family should make a donation to 'my' police department."

That's when McCourt wrote the foundation a check for $25,000.

"It was extremely generous," Deveau said.

The Watertown Police Foundation was started the week after the Boston Marathon bombing events that eventually brought two suspected terrorists into Watertown just after midnight on April 19. Suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed during a shootout with police and his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured in a boat in a Watertown backyard after an intense day-long manhunt.

The foundation collects both donations and also proceeds from the police-specific “Watertown Strong” T-shirts. About 4,300 shirts had been sold as of last week, officials said.

Watertown Police Foundation and department leaders hope to use the money to fund special training, equipment, and community outreach programs not covered by town funds.

Deveau said the foundation proceeds are a relief for the cash-strapped police department, as budget cuts have forced the department to lay off eight police officers in recent years.

“This foundation is something that is much needed,” Deveau previously said. “We’re hoping it will be able to really give us a shot in the arm.”

Deveau also previously told the Globe that he estimated overtime and equipment charges for the police department would total over $250,000 for the events that followed the bombings He hopes that federal emergency funds will cover the entire cost.

At a community forum Wednesday night where Deveau and other police officers addressed local residents, Deveau also appealed to the audience to spread the word about McCourt's steep donation, as it might bring other companies to donate to their local law enforcement agencies as well.

"It's not the job of the police chief to go around asking for money," Deveau said over the phone today. "But he [McCourt] was the first corporate person to step up and make a donation, and it was really appreciated. I hope other corporations will follow his lead."

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Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com

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