LEAF grants

College-bound students from left, Emily Hardcastle, Asia Johnson, Naiya Powell, Danielle Miranda and Jelsea Brank, accepted by her mother, recieved $1,000 grants Wednesday from the Killeen Police Department’s Law Enforcement Assistance Fund.


Five daughters of Killeen Police Department employees each took home $1,000 for college Wednesday as part of a community effort to support police families.

The Law Enforcement Assistance Fund scholarships require candidates to be children of Killeen police officers or staff; however, the recipients do not have to use the money for police training, said Thomas Sinkey, president of the LEAF board.

“We don’t require them to pursue a career in law enforcement,” Sinkey said.

Over the past seven years, LEAF has distributed more than $150,000 to police families for various types of assistance, including scholarships, medical expenses and help with unexpected life events.

“These parents are working so that they can make the next generation a little bit better,” Sinkey said.

“The less they have to stress the better they can go out and serve the community.”

Scholarship recipient Danielle Miranda, 17, a senior at Harker Heights High School, said her father, Detective Kevin Tramp, was an inspiration for her to work hard in school so that she can one day serve her community.

“Growing up with a policeman father, I see the other side of how our community works,” Miranda said. “I’ve always grown up proud of my father.”

Miranda said she plans to attend Texas State University in San Marcos and study nursing and pediatrics.

The other four scholarship recipients are Jelsea Brank, Emily Hardcastle, Asia Johnson and Naiya Powell.

Founding LEAF board member Tim Stroud said he was surprised that all five recipients were pursuing a career in medicine.

“They all had the foresight to go into the medical field because that’s where the jobs are,” Stroud said.

When Stroud was 5, his father died in the line of duty. Raised in a vacuum support for his family, Stroud saw a need for a police assistance program in Killeen, he said.

In 2006, Stroud, a local business owner, teamed up with KPD information specialist Carroll Smith and Assistant Police Chief Larry Longwell, to start the fund with $1,000.

“I thought, ‘There’s got to be something else we can do to help out those officers,’” Stroud said.

Seven years into the program, the fund raises around $60,000 a year through help from business leaders, community donors and voluntary deductions from police paychecks, Smith said.

“How many times do you pass around the hat at work to help out a co-worker,” Smith said. “Well, that’s the basic idea of this fund.”

Contact Brandon Janes at bjanes@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7552

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