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CHICAGO, IL – The Spirit of Blue Foundation announced that it awarded a Safety Equipment Grant to the Chicago Police Department as part of its 2012 Safety Grant Program. The official presentation took place on April 23rd at the Chicago Public Safety Headquarters with Commander Leo Schmitz from 7th District - Englewood, Sgt. James Pardell who serves on the department’s Firearm Training Unit, Todd and Melissa Parola who founded the Spirit of Blue Foundation in 2010, and John Gordon representing the Chicago Police Memorial Fund. The Bushmaster Firearms sponsored grant is the result of an annual holiday fundraising campaign that encourages participants to nominate a law enforcement agency they would like to see receive a Safety Equipment Grant.
Officer Paula Krezbiot, also in attendance at the presentation ceremony, was the individual who purchased a Spirit of Blue Wreath last year during the holiday season and submitted the Chicago Police Department to be considered for a Safety Equipment Grant. The Chicago Police Department was randomly selected from over the 300 agencies submitted to receive a grant. Officials from the department have indicated that the Bushmaster rifle they are purchasing with the granted funds will be assigned to personnel who work in the 7th District - Englewood where Officer Krezbiot serves.
The Spirit of Blue Foundation works nationally to support the Law Enforcement community through raising funds to award to agencies as Safety Equipment Grants. A number of other 2012 grants are due to be announced later in May. In 2011 the Spirit of Blue awarded three grants used to purchase Bushmaster patrol rifles to the following agencies: New Berlin (WI) Police Department, Cedar Rapids (IA) Police Department and the Maine State Police. Eight additional private equipment manufacturers have recently joined in partnership with the Spirit of Blue to expand the grant program, which include: Blue Force Gear, Magpul Industries, Combat Medical Systems, L3-EOTech, A-TACS Camo, Leupold Tactical Optics, Amped Software and SentrySafe. Together, the Foundation and its partners hope to realize a dramatic impact in the safety of the nation’s law enforcement officers.
2011 Statistics released by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, in conjunction with Concerns of Police Survivors, revealed the number of U.S. law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty totaled 173, a 13% percent increase over 2010. Firearm-related deaths reached 68, an increase of 15% for the same period. The reality of these statistics and the increasing number of underfunded law enforcement agencies across the country fueled the Spirit of Blue safety grant initiative.
The Spirit of Blue Foundation actively encourages the public at large to honor and appreciate law enforcement officers who serve to protect our communities. By supporting the Spirit of Blue Foundation, the public can make an impact in the lives of law enforcement officers every day. To learn more about the Spirit of Blue, make a donation or to order from a full range of Spirit of Blue products currently available, visit www.spiritofblue.com.
About The Spirit of Blue Foundation, Inc.
The Spirit of Blue Foundation, Inc., based out of Chicago, IL, is a 501(c)(3) public charity dedicated to the enhancement of officer safety and vitality throughout the law enforcement community by promoting public awareness for their protection and fulfilling safety equipment and training needs. The Spirit of Blue Foundation develops and executes fundraising campaigns nationally with the support of partner non-profits, national retailers and private equipment manufacturers. Fundraising proceeds are distributed in the form of Safety Equipment Grants to law enforcement agencies from local to federal levels.