Posted on Mar 28, 2018

Dear Members:

Many of you have likely seen the KOAA/Eric Ross Investigative News report that aired on Monday night, March 26th.  The video, along with an article authored by Ross, is available at

This news piece grossly misrepresents the CSPPA with respect to our financial integrity. As such, you are receiving this letter to clarify how we actually do manage your membership dollars, versus what was reported by KOAA and Ross. For ease of presentation, key quotes from Ross’s online article appear below, each followed by actual fact.

  • “The local non-profit organization accepts public donations and grant money…Chief Investigative Reporter Eric Ross asked Dillon, “You say you hold yourselves accountable to your members, but shouldn’t the public hold you accountable?”

The CSPPA is NOT a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization, does NOT receive public donations or grant money, and thus is NOT accountable to the general public. The rare exception to this is when we are approached to be the beneficiary of local business fundraising activity. In that case, 100 percent of any funds donated go to our Fallen Officer Fund, which is restricted to support officers and their families only in times of significant duty-related injury or death.

Rather, the CSPPA is structured as a 501 (c) (5) organization, a labor organization as defined by IRS guidelines. Our sole source of operating income comes from member dues, and our financial statements are readily available to both members and prospective members. In addition, the board reviews financials at each of its monthly on-site meetings, which are open to all members.

  • “… News 5 found the organization spent thousands of dollars on meals, entertainment and office supplies. One year, the non-profit spent more money on employee salaries than it did on benefits for police officers…”

The year in question regarding salaries versus benefits is 2014. A look back at our statements shows that in addition to $132,389 in member benefits, $13,000 was spent on scholarships for member dependents, bringing the total to $145,389. An additional $29,993 was awarded to allied organizations such as CAPS, Candlelighters, and the Pikes Peak Region Peace Officers Memorial.

Office supply spending has remained consistent at an average of $5,276 per year for the period 2014 – 2016, which includes all tangible supplies and printing. Meals and entertainment included expenses related to hosting scholarship recipients, meeting with recruit classes at the Academy, and monthly board meetings. Receipts are maintained for purposes of our annual financial audit/review, conducted by an independent certified public accounting firm.

  • “Chief Investigative Reporter Eric Ross spent weeks asking the organization’s executive director, Sherryl Ann Dillon, to sit down and explain how the non-profit is spending money, but she refused.”

Eric Ross first contacted me by phone and email on February 11th with questions regarding CSPPA finances.  I responded on February 12th as well as to subsequent emails on February 14th and 15th. In part, my last communication reiterated the following:

“I must again state that we hold ourselves fully accountable to our membership.  As indicated previously, any information beyond the publicly accessible Form  990s are not available for general disclosure.”

I received one more email from Ross, in which he indicated that “no comment” would not be acceptable. At that point, and in consultation with our Board and legal counsel, I ceased communication.

  • “Ross caught up with Dillon as she left work to give her a final opportunity to answer questions.”

I only learned after viewing our CSPPA security video, that Eric Ross and his camera man waited in a vehicle in a neighboring parking lot for one and a quarter hours on Monday, March 5th until I left work at 5pm. It was at that time that he attempted to “interview” me, coming towards me in our empty parking lot with his camera man. I was also unaware until seeing the news report on KOAA, that a few minutes prior to this, Ross covertly videotaped me from inside his vehicle when I was in the CSPPA parking lot with my daughter.

  • “Actual salaries for the CSPPA executive director ranged from $78,000 to just under $87,000.”

The Board of Directors sets my salary annually. For the first three months I was employed at the CSPPA, beginning April 20, 2015, I was paid $48,000 as there was overlap with my predecessor. My salary was gradually brought into alignment with P1 pay as of January 2017.

  • “The industry standard in non-profit management is… No more than 25-percent should go toward overhead that’s associated with personnel and supplies…”

Our most recent financial statement reveals that only 16.79 percent of revenue goes towards general and administrative support.

These are only a few highlights of the misrepresentation that Eric Ross and KOAA presented to the public regarding the CSPPA in Monday night’s news report and online. Rather than continuing to focus on the negative, it is important to be reminded that we have enjoyed great successes thanks to our increasing membership, the Board of Director’s fiduciary integrity, and collaborative working relationships with the Office of the Chief, the Office of the Mayor, and City Council. We also purchased our own building in third quarter 2015; ended 2016 and 2017 with a budget surplus; reallocated spending to align with building ownership; and have extended our community outreach.

Finally, know that fiduciary responsibility is of primary importance, and as such, we undergo full audits every three years and financial reviews in-between, all of which are conducted by an independent accounting firm.

As always, please let me know if you have any further questions. And of course, be safe…