Tris Coffin, Skip Gates to be Honored by Queen City Police

Published 05/19 2014 04:03AM

Updated 05/19 2014 09:25AM

BURLINGTON - The Queen City Police Foundation is holding its annual awards luncheon Monday at the Hilton.

The annual event gives out awards to members of the community who made a different in the previous year. The highest honor is the Pomerleau Award, which is going to Tris Coffin and Skip Gates for their work on the Opiate Effect documentary.

Coffin is the U.S. District Attorney for Vermont, and Gates is the father of UVM Student Will Gates, who died of a heroin overdose in 2009. They both appeared in the documentary to tell their stories and raise awareness for the epidemic.

"They bring to the table this really compelling story around opiates," said Police Chief Mike Schirling, who nominated the two recipients. "From two different perspectives that crashed together, unfortunately."

The banquet is a big fundraiser for the Burlington Police Department, which needs the money to buy items the general fund budget doesn't cover. In the past, the money was used to buy laptops for cruisers, replace a crime scene van, and buy police bicycles.

There is a plan for this year's funds.

"The two cornerstone things that we're raising money for this year are to continue the efforts of the police activity league and youth engagement safety efforts, and for cold weather gear," said Chief Schirling. "We're coming off the end of a brutal winter...and it became apparent over this last winter that our winter gear is a little bit antiquated," he said.

The youth engagement safety efforts try and keep high-risk kids off the streets by providing after-school and summer activities.

If you want to attend the luncheon, it's from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Hilton in Burlington. Individual tickets are $35. Visit the Queen City Police Foundation website for more information.

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