Page 53 - October 2021
P. 53

True Blue Connection
Chicago Police Foundation continues its work to support the Department and officer well-being
It’s all about reconnecting.
Several thousand invitations have been sent out. More seats at tables are being sold by the day. With only a few weeks until the Chicago Police Foun- dation’s (CPF’s) sixth annual True Blue event on Nov. 6, CPF Chairman Rich- ard Simon is ushering in a brand-new, post-pandemic generation of the CPF.
“We had a person donate the money to buy and build a command van for the 18th District,” divulged Simon, a retired CPD officer who took over as CPF chair just before the pandemic. “The woman said, ‘I want to give you more money to buy safety equipment.’ So, you know, there are people writing checks to do specific tasks. Their reasoning for do- ing this is to promote law and order and safety, to show support for our police of- ficers.”
As always, the CPF is dedicated to raising money to provide training and equipment and to promote community partnerships and resources for officers’ mental health and wellness. For this year’s gala at the Four Seasons Hotel Chi- cago, the foundation is planning on once again buying and distributing LEMART kits to promote officer safety.
After all, nobody can forget the testi- mony that transpired when Adam Wazny rolled into the ballroom at the Four Sea- sons Hotel for the 2019 True Blue gala af- ter being shot a month prior to the event. During the incident, Wazny applied a tourniquet from his LEMART kit — pur- chased by the foundation — to save his
life. His story is just one example of the astonishing and lifesaving assistance provided daily by the CPF.
“LEMART, that’s a big hit with the cops,” Simon expressed. “We get to the scene of the incident way before the paramedics do and somebody’s bleed- ing, and we have documented saving a number of lives with this LEMART kit.”
For Simon, the 2021 True Blue gala is a triumphant return to sharing the tireless work of the CPF from the past year and a half. Simon, who served 23 years with the Department, is the president and chief executive officer of United Service Companies.
“We had a board meeting, we were go- ing to start looking at expanding our mis- sion, and the pandemic hit and basically shut everything down for fundraising and police work,” Simon explained. “So we’ve really kind of lost a year and really got going again about 13, 14 months lat- er, earlier this year. So some of the things that we’re talking about is we’re spending a lot more time with the police depart- ment”
One initiative that Simon has been at the helm of resurrecting is month-
ly luncheons with the superintendent throughout the winter. The luncheons open up the Department to citizens, supporters of law enforcement and po- tential board members.
His goal is to expand the board to be more inclusive and diverse to achieve the mission of the CPF. He also is help- ing facilitate another holiday toy drive to connect with residents and children across Chicago communities and make sure that the positive relationship with law enforcement and residents begins early in childhood.
“One of the things that I think we can help with is helping reconnect the police department with the citizens, putting a face on these cops,” Simon relayed. “The average citizen ... they don’t see the face. All they see if you get stopped by the po- lice, all you’re looking at, is the badge or the gun or the hats, you’re not looking at the guy’s face. We’ve proven we have to get the citizens to start looking at the face and talking to the cops.”
The mission of this latest generation of the CPF is to reconnect with citizens, reconnect with law enforcement officers and foster a deep connection between those two groups. That goal will no doubt be at the forefront of conversations at the 2021 True Blue gala and beyond, as we navigate this new normal.
“It’s about showing the police some dignity,” Simon confirmed. “Our con- versation is what we can do to help the police department, and that includes helping connect the police department with citizens, putting them all in a more positive light.”
   Sixth Annual Chicago Police Foundation True Blue Event
Nov. 6 @ 6:30 p.m.
Four Seasons Hotel • 120 E. Delaware Place

   51   52   53   54   55