Oath to serve: West Chicago detective helps lead Special Olympics campaign

 
Posted5/18/2018 5:30 AM
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  • Becky Cavanagh of Clarendon Hills, left, and West Chicago police Detective Robbi Peterson film a promotional video for the 2018 "Cop on a Rooftop" fundraising campaign for Special Olympics.

    Becky Cavanagh of Clarendon Hills, left, and West Chicago police Detective Robbi Peterson film a promotional video for the 2018 "Cop on a Rooftop" fundraising campaign for Special Olympics. Courtesy of Special Olympics of Illinois

West Chicago Detective Robbi Peterson loves a chocolate-glazed long john and intends to snag at least one, maybe more, Friday morning at the Dunkin' Donuts at Route 59 and Main Street.

"But I'll walk it off," Peterson promised us, as he'll be hustling from 5 a.m. to noon collecting money for the Law Enforcement Torch Run to benefit Special Olympics Illinois.

Peterson is the co-spokesman this year for the 16th annual "Cop on a Rooftop" campaign, in which police across the state will station themselves on Dunkin' Donuts rooftops to raise awareness and money.

He's also featured in promotional photos and a video with 12-year-old Clarendon Hills resident Becky Cavanagh, a global messenger for Special Olympics. The photo shoot took place in March in Downers Grove.

"She has already kind of become a surrogate member of my family," said Peterson, who's been an officer for 14 years and has been leading his department's Cop on the Roof efforts for seven.

In the video, Peterson said Cop on a Rooftop gives him and fellow officers a chance to interact with the community in a way they usually don't.

"When I took this oath, it was with the intention to serve and protect, and getting involved with Special Olympics and the athletes, and seeing the smiles on their faces for everything we're able to do on their behalf, I couldn't think of a better way to actually fulfill the oath that I took," he added.

The details

Nearly all suburban police departments are taking part in today's event, with several stationing officers at more than one Dunkin' Donuts in their towns.

Donors will receive a coupon for a free doughnut, and those who give $10 or more will get a souvenir Law Enforcement Torch Run coffee tumbler and a free coffee. Police also are selling T-shirts and raffle tickets.

Last year, cops raised $700,000 at 272 locations, according to Special Olympics Illinois. The organization serves more than 43,000 athletes of all ages across the state.

For a list of the locations, visit www.soill.org/event/dunkin-donuts-cop-on-rooftop/.

Help a Palatine cop

Friends, family and colleagues in two suburbs will come together Sunday to help Palatine police officer Mark Dahlem in his fight against an aggressive form of brain cancer.
Friends, family and colleagues in two suburbs will come together Sunday to help Palatine police officer Mark Dahlem in his fight against an aggressive form of brain cancer. - Courtesy photo

Speaking of good causes, family, friends and law enforcement colleagues from two suburbs will gather Sunday for a fundraiser to help a veteran Palatine police officer battling an aggressive form of brain cancer.

In December, just eight days after seeing a doctor to check on severe headaches and five days after emergency surgery to remove a tumor, officer Mark Dahlem learned he had glioblastoma multiforme, according to an online fundraising site set up for his benefit.

In the months since, Dahlem, 47, has undergone intensive rehab, 30 chemotherapy and radiation treatments, and multiple hospitalizations.

When he wasn't serving and protecting the citizens of Palatine, Dahlem, a married father of two, could be found serving as a youth football and baseball coach in his hometown of Cary.

Now, those two worlds are coming together to help him and his family Sunday with a fundraiser at Galati's Hideaway, 800 Feinberg Court in Cary.

The Palatine and Cary-Grove Jaycees are teaming up to host the event, which will include a pasta dinner buffet and nonalcoholic beverages. A cash bar also will be available, and there will be a 50/50 raffle and silent auction.

Admission is $25 for adults, $10 for kids 12 and under. All proceeds will help the Dahlem family with medical bills.

"Mark has given so much to both the Cary and Palatine communities through his coaching and his job," Tracey Joyner, Cary-Grove Jaycees member and project chairwoman, said in an announcement of Sunday's event. "Both members of the Cary-Grove and Palatine Jaycees know Mark through his work with coaching and through his work on the Palatine police force. We are holding this fundraiser to help someone who has been a positive influence in countless lives."

If you can't make the fundraiser but still want to help, visit www.youcaring.com/kimberlydahlem-1038323.

Just call 911

Time is of the essence when you are the victim of a crime. Call 911 before you call anybody else.

That was the message from Aurora police this week after a pizza delivery guy was robbed in Aurora on Sunday and called his boss at a Montgomery-based pizzeria instead of the police. The boss called 911, but, of course, that call went to the Montgomery Police Department.

"While we understand the shock and trauma experienced by victims, it is imperative that delivery drivers of any type (and their bosses and ALL crime victims) realize the importance of calling 911," Aurora police wrote on its Facebook page. "When we're not alerted immediately, we lose precious time in identifying, arresting, and holding the criminal accountable."

'Legal legend' passes

Defense lawyer Thomas Briscoe, shown here in 2006 when he was representing Chicago Bears player Tank Johnson, died over the weekend. "Tom was a great man and a legal legend here in Lake County," State's Attorney Michael G. Nerheim said.
  Defense lawyer Thomas Briscoe, shown here in 2006 when he was representing Chicago Bears player Tank Johnson, died over the weekend. "Tom was a great man and a legal legend here in Lake County," State's Attorney Michael G. Nerheim said. - Paul Valade | Staff Photographer, 2006

Lake County's legal community is mourning the death of prominent criminal defense lawyer Thomas Briscoe, who died May 12 at his Waukegan home. He was 64.

Briscoe took on some highly publicized cases during his 40-year legal career. Among his notable clients and cases: the weapons case against then-Chicago Bear Terrence "Tank" Johnson, the child pornography case of longtime Green Oaks Mayor Tom Adams, a Libertyville assistant fire chief convicted of drunken driving in a crash that killed a bicyclist, and a former star wrestler at Libertyville High acquitted in the 1998 slaying of his father.

"Tom was a great man and a legal legend here in Lake County," State's Attorney Michael G. Nerheim said. "He was a friend and mentor to many of us and was hands down one of the best criminal defense attorneys in the area. Tom was also very supportive of local charities and community groups.

"Tom never wanted recognition for his philanthropy; he just did it because he wanted to help people, especially those in recovery," Nerheim said. "Personally, he was a good friend and will be deeply missed."

Services are 1 p.m. today, at St. Anastasia Church in Waukegan.

• Got a tip? Send an email to copsandcrime@dailyherald.com or call (847) 427-4483.

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