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Foundation for fallen Phoenix officer looks to connect police, kids through sports

(Phoenix Police Department and Facebook photos)

PHOENIX — The widow of a fallen Phoenix police officer is hoping to bring police officers and communities together through a new foundation.

David Glasser Foundation President Kristen Glasser said it combines two of her late husband’s main loves: community and sports.

“I just know, from personal experience and with my son, how important [sports] coaches can be to kids,” she said. “I think if we can get some officers in those roles, and build relationships that way, there’s some opportunity there to make some change.”

David, a 12-year veteran of the Phoenix Police Department, was killed last May while investigating a burglary call in Laveen. He was with five other officers at the time.

Twenty-year-old Israel Santos-Banos – who fired the fatal shot at Glasser from the backseat of a minivan – had stolen his father’s guns not long before the incident, and indicated to his father he wanted to get into a shooting match with police.

Kristen said that kind of mindset is something she’d like to change, too.

“The young man that took David’s life, for whatever reason, felt the need that he wanted to get into it with police officers,” she said. “And he’s not alone. There’s a lot of people out there that feel the need to make them the enemy, for some reason.”

The foundation does not yet have tax-exempt status. Once that’s in place, Kristen said, people can donate time, money or sports equipment – whatever they feel moved to give.

“We’d love to have a full kids’ sports program going by our fifth year,” she said. “I think, starting out, we’ll be looking at some of the most popular sports: baseball, basketball, maybe some football in there, too.”

David was part of a neighborhood enforcement team, meaning he did not walk a beat but responded to neighborhood issues. Kristen said her husband touched many lives and the foundation is her way of honoring his memory.

“I always knew he was special. To us, he was our world,” she said. “But in his passing, I just realized how many people cared about him. The love he spread to so many different people – I had no idea. When I hear about those things, it touches me.

“I want to keep that going. I want to make sure that even though he’s gone, his work is still being done.”

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