By Dan Campana
Asked about the ways his department gives back, Buffalo Grove Police Chief Steve Casstevens didn’t shy away from the chance to brag about his “wonderful team.”
That’s understandable as Casstevens’ group had just completed a trivia night as its final fundraiser of the year for Special Olympics Illinois which he said raised $14,000 and grew the department’s total for 2017 to around $45,000.
“It’s important to give back to the community and to support charitable organizations,” Casstevens said, adding that it “means everything” that department personnel are fully on board for such activities. “Our department is like a family and we love to work together as a team on various events and to support Special Olympics athletes.”
As 2017 winds down, Casstevens and his team can reflect on a busy year of exemplifying its Blue Spirit in a variety of ways, including some activities which showed how easy it can be to have positive community engagement.
In February, BGPD partnered with Canadian National Railway to hand out free coffee, treats and other goodies to train riders as part of National Random Acts of Kindness Day. Over the summer and into the start of the school year, the department joined several other suburban agencies in the Good McDeeds program which distributed coupons for free ice cream and McDonald’s Happy Meals to children – as well as other community members – who were spotted doing good deeds or practicing safe habits, such as wearing bike helmets.
Last month, with National Coffee with a Cop and National Walk to School days coinciding on Oct. 4, the department’s school resource officers handed out cups of coffee donated by McDonald’s to parents and school staff members. Kids who walked to school also got a treat.
Of course, the year isn’t quite over yet. Buffalo Grove police will host its annual Shop with a Cop event on Saturday. Community Relations Officer Meghan Hansen said Target and an area men’s group provided donations to support the day’s activities which features officers teaming up with children, who live or go to school in the village, for a holiday shopping trip.
The kids will have the opportunity to purchase a gift for themselves before picking out items for family members. After shopping, the group plans to head back to the department to wrap gifts and enjoy a meal together.
“These events are a great way to connect with members of the community that we serve,” Casstevens said. “This is one more way to show that police officers are real people. I feel very blessed that we have such a wonderful team of officers and civilians who have a great passion for helping people.”