Hundreds of dog statues will be on display around Chicago this summer to honor fallen police officers and assist the families of those killed or wounded in the line of duty.
The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation is backing a public art initiative called K-9s for Cops to bring 200 German shepherd statues to the Magnificent Mile and other locations, the foundation and police officials announced Tuesday.
Much like the Horses of Honor campaign, which featured life-size horse statues dedicated to Chicago police officers killed or injured in the line of duty, the fiberglass dog statues will be designed and painted by artists working with sponsors, and later will be auctioned off to raise money for the foundation, said John Gordon, the foundation’s project manager. The statues, which will be about 54 inches tall and mounted to a concrete base, will be on display from July 23 to Labor Day.
The sale and sponsorships of about 125 horses a few years ago brought in $480,000, Gordon said. The foundation uses its funds to provide financial assistance to families of slain officers and those wounded, maintain the Gold Star Families Memorial and Park near Soldier Field, and purchase bullet-proof vests for police officers.
This year, a portion of the sale proceeds also will be donated to PAWS Chicago to go toward the free spay and neuter services and medical care for pets.
“Building on the success of Horses of Honor, K-9 for Cops brings together two great organizations, the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation and PAWS Chicago,” Chicago Police Memorial Foundation Executive Director Phil Cline said in a news release.
The public art initiative “highlights the work of Chicago’s premier artists while honoring the real Canine Unit police officers and their canine partners who help keep Chicago safe,” he said.
Currently 65 dogs are part of the canine team helping Chicago police conduct building searches, detect narcotics and explosives, and track down suspects, the release said.
“We are honored to partner with the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation, whose police officers and K9s are on the front lines protecting our communities every day,” PAWS Chicago founder Paula Fasseas said in the release.