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Salem police unions to donate 11 iPads to students at North Shore Education Consortium

Salem police's distinctive witch logo is on merchandise sold by its police unions.Salem Police Gear / Facebook

Salem’s police unions are using the funds they raised selling patches and t-shirts with the department’s distinctive witch logo during the Halloween season to make a generous gift to a regional school serving disabled students.

The Salem Police Patrolmen’s Association and the Salem Police Superior Officers Association are set to spend nearly $8,000 to buy 11 iPads and donate them to the North Shore Education Consortium, said Sergeant Eric Gagnon.

The unions reached out to the consortium, which is based in Beverly, to see how the school could benefit from the money they raised during the month of October, Gagnon said.


With insurance companies often unwilling to insure technology, and the school lacking the funding to purchase the needed devices, the unions stepped in to ensure disabled students who have difficulty communicating could do so using the tablets, he said.

“We can actually buy what they need, rather than handing someone a thousand dollars, we can actually give them what they need,” he said in a telephone interview Tuesday evening. “Just from what I hear the kids that get them [the impact] is substantial.”

The consortium is the “largest provider of special education programs for children with emotional, behavioral, and developmental disabilities on the North Shore,” according to the school’s website.

Francine H. Rosenberg, the consortium’s executive director, said the school was “so moved” by the union’s gift that she believes will be “truly life changing.”

The iPads will be given to non-verbal students enrolled at the Kevin O’Grady School, which serves disabled students ages 3 to 22.

“Each of these children will now have a personalized device complete with a case, stand, and specific apps for communication and learning that they can use at school, at home, and wherever they go in the community opening doors to increased communication and interaction!” Rosenberg wrote in an e-mail statement. “I am so grateful for their support and generosity!!”


The unions “had a lot of support this year” selling the patches officers wear on their uniforms, which are emblazoned with a witch riding a broomstick. Patches are sold both online and at a booth in downtown Salem. Gagnon quipped they were “perfect for Salem in October” and “kinda sell themselves.”

Gagnon said the intention of the fundraiser is to give back to the community. Aside from donations, officers often use their own money to buy Christmas presents for children, or a tree for a family, who otherwise would not have one.

The unions give back throughout the year via “a lot of little donations,” he said. To date in 2021, they have donated $45,000 to various initiatives.

“This year has just been unbelievable and it’s great that we can give that much more back,” Gagnon said. “It’s nice to know that it’s helping somebody”

Charlie McKenna can be reached at charlie.mckenna@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @charliemckenna9.