Mundelein proudly unveils statue paying homage to its police
As America struggles with a growing public distrust of its police officers, Mundelein officials on Friday unveiled a statue honoring the men and women who wear the badge and uniform in town.
Dubbed "The Protector," the life-size bronze piece depicts a police officer holding hands with a young girl while a boy stands nearby with a baseball and glove. Elements of the officer's uniform and equipment identify him as a Mundelein cop.
The statue was installed in a plaza on the west side of the village's police station, 221 N. Lake St. It's a prominent location along one of Mundelein's busiest streets.
"We definitely wanted this to be something everybody sees when they come here," Public Safety Director Eric Guenther said following a well-attended dedication ceremony Friday morning.
The statue was the brainchild of local resident Jack Forshaw, who proposed the piece in 2013 as a way to both honor local police officers and add some public art to Mundelein's landscape.
"Although I'm not artistically inclined by any means, I always notice public art when I travel," Forshaw told the crowd of more than 100 people Friday.
With the village's blessing, Forshaw and a volunteer committee raised $40,000 to pay for the project. The village contributed $15,000.
The piece was crafted by Brodin Studios, a Minnesota company specializing in statutes of police officers, firefighters and military personnel. Forshaw was amazed by the final product.
"It's better than we ever thought it would be," he said. "The color's good, the shine is good. It's going to be such a great asset for the village of Mundelein."
Forshaw, Guenther, Mayor Steve Lentz and U.S. Rep. Robert Dold were among the speakers Friday. Lentz talked to the crowd about the difficulties and distrust police officers face today because of violent confrontations in Ferguson, Missouri, and other communities.
"It takes more bravery and courage (to be a police officer) than it ever has in the past," Lentz said.
Dold, a Kenilworth Republican, added that modern police officers must do more than uphold the law. They also serve as counselors who are called upon to help people in trouble.
Dold called the statue "a testament to the character and the people of this community."