Lake in the Hills' first female police chief takes helm in July

  • Mary Frake, who has served 27 years with the Lake in the Hills Police Department, will be the town's first female police chief. She takes the helm when Police Chief David Brey retires in July after 29 years with that department.

    Mary Frake, who has served 27 years with the Lake in the Hills Police Department, will be the town's first female police chief. She takes the helm when Police Chief David Brey retires in July after 29 years with that department. Courtesy of Lake in the Hills Police Department

  • Susana Mejia, of Bensenville, got her first COVID-19 shot administered Friday by Janeth Lopez of the HR Support group of Harwood Heights in the parking lot at the Gary Methodist Church in Wheaton. "I am excited," she said. She was the second person in line to get the vaccine at a free clinic organized by Immigrant Solidarity DuPage for Latinos.

      Susana Mejia, of Bensenville, got her first COVID-19 shot administered Friday by Janeth Lopez of the HR Support group of Harwood Heights in the parking lot at the Gary Methodist Church in Wheaton. "I am excited," she said. She was the second person in line to get the vaccine at a free clinic organized by Immigrant Solidarity DuPage for Latinos. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Gov. J.B. Pritzker signs the law establishing April as Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month on Aug. 3, 2019, at the Palatine gurdwara.

    Gov. J.B. Pritzker signs the law establishing April as Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month on Aug. 3, 2019, at the Palatine gurdwara. Courtesy of Suresh Bodiwala

 
 
Updated 4/17/2021 6:19 PM

Mary Frake didn't set out to make history. But soon she will join the ranks of just a handful of women leading suburban police departments.

Frake, who has served 27 years with the Lake in the Hills Police Department and is currently deputy chief, will take the helm when Chief David Brey retires in July after 29 years with the department. She will be Lake in the Hills' first female police chief.

 

"I have been incredibly fortunate to be given this opportunity," said Frake, 53, of Crystal Lake. "Certainly, there are several women that have come before me that have paved the way."

Fewer than 15 women are serving as police chiefs across roughly 900 law enforcement agencies statewide, said Ed Wojcicki, executive director of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.

In the suburbs, top cops include Kristen Ziman in Aurora, Ana Lalley in Elgin, Jennifer Paulus in Hawthorn Woods, Laura King with the McHenry County Conservation District Police and Tracy Chapman with the Forest Preserves of Will County Police. Retired female police chiefs include Lisa Womack in Elgin, Carol Lussky in Pingree Grove and Pamela Church in Western Springs.

"I don't take it lightly (that) there aren't many of us," Frake said. "I feel, outside of gender, the responsibility of being a police officer carries a tremendous amount of trust. There's significant challenges right now in the profession. We have a tremendous foundation in community policing ... Partnership with our community is what makes us successful."

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Frake will be sworn in after Brey's retirement in July. She will oversee a department with 39 sworn officers -- seven female -- and eight civilian employees.

Vaccines for Latinos

Immigrant Solidarity Du­Page is hosting free COVID-19 vaccination clinics for Latinos in DuPage County aimed at addressing disparities with vaccine access.

Nearly 6% of Latinos in DuPage County have been fully vaccinated, according to the county health department. Hispanics make up almost 15% of the county's population, census data shows.

The Wheaton-based group hosted a vaccine fair Friday for Latinos at Gary Methodist Church in Wheaton, including a mobile food pantry and COVID testing. The initiative will continue with a second dose clinic on May 7 and a another vaccine fair for people getting their first doses on May 21.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Latinos are two to three times more likely to contract the virus, but are far behind other communities in receiving vaccines, despite being disproportionately represented among essential workers, group leaders say.

Friday's event was co-sponsored by Access DuPage, La Rosita Grocery Store and Gary United Methodist Church of Wheaton.

Mosque vaccine clinics

COVID-19 vaccination clinics are scheduled this week at the Islamic Center of Naperville and The Mecca Center in Willowbrook.

The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago is helping organize vaccination education events and clinics at mosques throughout the Chicago area to increase access for faith community members during the holy month of Ramadan.

The Illinois Department of Public Health will administer first vaccine doses from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Islamic Center of Naperville, 2844 W. Ogden Ave. Second doses will be administered at that site on May 17 and 18. To register, visit tinyurl.com/covidvaccineaticn.

The Mecca Center and the Syrian American Medical Society are hosting free vaccination events in partnership with Pillars Community Health on Saturday for the first dose of the Moderna vaccine and May 22 for the second dose. The clinics will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Anne M. Jeans Elementary School, 16W631 91st St., Willowbrook. Registration is open for anyone 18 years and older at tinyurl.com/9e86tk2y.

Sikh appreciation

Cook County recently joined a growing list of counties and towns to adopt a resolution honoring the Sikh community and the contributions of Sikh Americans.

Cook County Commissioner Scott Britton presented a resolution recognizing April as Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month to 50 members of the Sikh Religious Society in Palatine, the largest gurdwara in the Midwest.

In 2011, the Sikh Coalition helped create and pass the nation's first Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month in California. Since then, 14 more states have adopted similar resolutions and proclamations honoring Sikhs, including Illinois in 2019.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the new law designating April as Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month at the Palatine gurdwara. It took effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

"In 2020, we could not observe it because of COVID," said Irwin Preet Singh, past president of the Palatine society. "Members of Sikh Religious Society are working with their own counties and villages to make sure this is recognized."

Vaisakhi -- one of the most historically significant days of the year for Sikhs -- falls on April 14 each year. It's a harvest festival celebrated across the Punjab region of India. In 1699, Guru Gobind Singh chose the festival to establish the Khalsa -- the collective name given to Sikhs who have been baptized. April 15 marks the birth of Guru Nanak, the founder and the first of 10 gurus of Sikhism.

• Share stories, news and happenings from the suburban mosaic at mkrishnamurthy@dailyherald.com.

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