phone calls are in short supply at the police station.
So when a local business owner called
the Cary Police Department to offer a gift, Lt. Dave Burman
nearly dropped the receiver. It's a rare citizen who takes the
time to utter nice words to local law enforcement; rarer still
is someone offering to make a contribution
"I was totally shocked,"
Burman said. "Usually when people call, it's because
there's something wrong or they're angry."
J. Smrt, owner of Fox Valley Systems Inc., wasn't peeved,
hadn't just gotten a traffic ticket, and didn't need a favor.
paint manufacturing company has had a few occasions to summon
police assistance during its 25 years in business in Cary. So he
was calling to return the support, Burman said.
Burman and Police Chief Robert Levitt
wasted no time in taking him up on his offer. The department's
brass had identified two equipment needs during a meeting before
Smrt's call and quickly relayed those deficiencies to
Their requests were fulfilled Wednesday
morning, when a new booking camera and 25 "First
Response" pocketknives were delivered to the police
station, courtesy of Fox Valley Systems.
The camera will replace the
department's antiquated model--"it has more down time than
up time," Burman said--and add another tool to each
officer's equipment belt.
The knives are designed for emergency
situations in which police officers responding to motor vehicle
accidents need to quickly cut an injured motorist free from a
seat belt, Levitt said. The knives also contain a window punch,
useful for getting quick access to an accident victim.
The gifts are more than a donation,
they're a challenge to other business owners, according to Lou
McMahon, the Fox Valley Systems representative who made the
"(Smrt) would like other
industries to follow his lead. So many departments go without
some of the things they need," McMahon said. "It makes
him happy to return favors for all the work the department
The police department would have paid
about $2,000 for the equipment, according to Levitt.
contacts and purchasing power enabled him to buy the items for
considerably less, McMahon said, although he declined to place a
dollar figure on the donation. The $1,000 line item for a
replacement camera in the police department's budget will likely
be allocated to other projects, Levitt said.
In addition to issuing a challenge to
other business owners, McMahon said, Smrt wanted to offer
this proposal to all citizens: Make a friendly gesture toward
the police department, and wave at officers when they're out
patrolling the community.
That, too, would be a welcome display
of support, Levitt said, as long as citizens remember to use all
their fingers when they wave
Edition: MCHENRY COUNTY
Section: MCHENRY COUNTY
Column: McHenry watch. Law enforcement.
Index Terms: SUBURB; BUSINESS; CHARITY;
Copyright 1996, Chicago Tribune
Record Number: CTR9605310138