CLC police department’s focus on community involvement and support

Elliott Deins

Sitting down and talking with Officer Jon Paret made one thing clear: community outreach and support are two top priorities of CLC’s police department.

Officer Paret has been with the CLC police force for the last two and a half years. Before that, he spent 35 years with other departments, including Vernon Hills. In that time, he has been involved with a plethora of social and community projects such as the Pink Patch Project, Cops and Kids, Coffee with Champions, and Polar Plunges.

In October, the CLC police department took part in the Pink Patch Project, an initiative to spread awareness about breast cancer and raise funds towards finding a cure.

“In the law enforcement community, we try to support every aspect of what is going on out there,” he said. “We want to participate.”

The officers around campus have been wearing a pink department patch during October. “We went a step further,” Paret said. “We are now offering the patches for sale. We partnered up with Tammy Burns at the Women’s Student Outreach Center. All proceeds will be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.”

CLC officers wearing patches in support of the Pink Patch Project, photo courtesy of CLC Public Relations and Marketing

Officer Paret took the reins of the project because of how close it hit home. “A number of my family members have had cancer,” he said. “All of them survived, but I know people who have not survived. It’s an awful thing. Every little bit helps. Even if we take a little step, that may lead to a big step that will cure it.”

The Pink Patch Project is not the only way CLC’s police department is getting involved in the community.

“Our department helps Vernon Hills and North Chicago’s departments with Cops and Kids,” Paret said. “The officers get names from the local schools of kids in need. The officers make purchases, typically 100 dollars per kid, and they do a gift exchange along with food. To see the faces of little kids receiving things they wouldn’t get otherwise from officers that are typically portrayed as awful just brings a huge smile.”

The CLC police department also participates in Coffee with Champions every third Friday in May. This event takes place at a local Dunkin Donuts in which patrons donate money to see officers on the roof of the building attempt to throw donut holes into the officers’ mouths on the ground.

“All proceeds go to the Special Olympics of Illinois,” Paret said. ”The object is we go down there and ask for donations. This year we were able to raise just under $2,500. It’s a funny sight to see – the kids love it [and] I enjoy it.”

In February or March, the department participates in a polar plunge into Fox Lake to benefit the Special Olympics of Illinois.

“Sometimes they have to break the ice,” he said. “We take donations and send officers to go down and take the plunge. The donors can come to watch, or there is a live stream online.”

Officer Paret and others during the Polar Plunge

Community outreach and helping those in need are also pivotal parts of the department’s plans.

“We’re trying to help people here,” Paret said. “The last thing we want to do is arrest anybody. We understand that kids can make a bad decision. If you make any mistake, you should learn from it. Most of the time, they will never do it again. Education is important … and we as a law enforcement community try to give back to our community.” he said.

Patches can be purchased for $10 (cash or check only) at the Women’s Student Outreach Center, located in room B113, to support breast cancer research. If you cannot come in person, please send a check for $11 payable to the College of Lake County at 19351 W. Washington St., Grayslake IL, 60030, Attn: Tammy Burns. Please include your mailing address, and a patch will be mailed out to you.