More than a hundred cards were hand delivered to the Champaign Police Department Monday night, all saying thanks. It's a gesture they need now more than ever. The police chief is grateful for the support because several of his officers have been shot at in the last three weeks. It's something his department hasn't seen for years.
People stopped by a tent at the Taste of Champaign, to make cards for everyone at the police department. Paul Faraci and his wife Stephanie, coordinated the effort. They brought all the cards to the police department Monday night. Some read, "Thanks for protecting our city," and you're "Champaign's Finest". They wanted to do something special for the police department, after three officers were shot in West Side Park last month.
"I think it's surprising something like this can happen in a town like Champaign. Champaign's a wonderful place, a great place to raise a family. To have such a scary event happen like this; it's absolutely horrifying," says Stephanie. She wants all the men and women in uniform to know the community is behind them.
The Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club even dropped off hand made flower bouquets to show their support. Officers appreciated the gesture. And they need it now more than ever, because of a spike in gun violence.
"This hasn't happened for many years and we hope not for many to come. But it does show that there's potential for this everyday. And just because it happened the last couple weeks, doesn't minimize the fact it could happen tomorrow again or tonight," says Police Chief, R.T. Finney. And if it does happen again, community members say they'll be there again, reaching out to the ones who risk their lives for our safety.
Two of the department members shot at West Side Park were at the event Monday night: Deputy Chief John Murphy and Officer Shannon Bridges. Murphy and Officer Jack Armstrong are both back on the job. Bridges was released from the hospital a couple weeks ago. Finney says she faces a long road to recovery at home. But he says she'll get there.