PSUD Establishes Scholarship Fund To Honor Palm Springs Police Officers

October 17
6:00 AM 2016

In honor of the officers Jose "Gil" Vega and Lesley Zerebny, two Palm Springs police officers who were fatally shot Oct. 8 while investigating to a domestic disturbance call, the Palm Springs Unified School District has established a scholarship fund.

The scholarship fund benefits students in the Public Safety Academy at Desert Hot Springs High School, according to Joan Boiko, spokeswoman for the Palm Springs Unified School District. Palm Springs Police Chief Bryan Reyes fully supports the gesture, Boiko said, and the district will invite members of both the police department and the officers' families to attend the first presentation of scholarships this spring.

Anyone who would like to donate to the fund can visit, Boiko said. On the website, designate the donation for "where funds are needed most" and under comments write "PSA Scholarships."

Donations and support for Vega's and Zerebny's families have been pouring in since their deaths. On Friday, Joe Cook, the president of the Palm Springs Police Officers Association, said his organization has raised about $500,000 total for the families.

Additionally, local businesses have pledged to contribute a portion of their sales on specific days to help the officers' families and a GoFundMe account set up by a police academy classmate of Zerebny's husband had raised more than $119,000 by Saturday night.

Donations have been pouring in for the families of officers Jose "Gil" Vega and Lesley Zerebny, the two Palm Springs police officers who were fatally shot Oct. 8 while responding to a domestic disturbance call.

The Palm Springs Police Officers Association has been accepting donations since Oct. 10, according to the group's Facebook page.

Joe Cook, president of the Palm Springs POA, said Friday, about $500,000 total has been raised to benefit the families of Vega and Zerebny.

On Friday, local news stations including KESQ hosted a "Day of Giving" at Palm Springs City Hall. All money raised went to the Palm Springs Police Memorial Foundation, which is run by the PSPOA.

Cook said about $270,000 of the overall $500,000 was raised during Friday's event.

One man, identified only as Isaiah in a post on the PSPOA's Facebook page,  helped to raise $1,458.37 Thursday night by arranging for local desert car clubs to meet up and raise money.

As of 9:15 p.m. Friday, a GoFundMe campaign benefiting Zerebny's family had raised more than $117,000 since it was set up Oct. 8. The PSPOA said the GoFundMe account was being organized by a police academy classmate of Zerebny's husband. GoFundMe had previously deactivated two fraudulent accounts claiming to raise money for the victims' families.

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