A Chicago police officer is being remembered for his dedication to the city’s 24th district as the city continues to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month.
The 24th district Chicago police station unveiled a new memorial hall honoring the memories of four officers, including Xu Meng.
“Meng’s family was here. His wife and son were here and it was very emotional and his in-laws were watching overseas in China and they were in tears,” said President of the Asian American Law Enforcement Association Henry Lai.
A private dedication ceremony was held Wednesday afternoon in Rogers Park as his family and friends reflected on his time of service.
“It was very emotional when you look at the plaque with his picture,” he said. “It’s just like it happened yesterday, but it’s been two years already.”
The 22-month veteran officer died from carbon monoxide poisoning in his own home during the summer of 2020. Family and friends believe he was exhausted from working 12-hour shifts for 12 days straight that he forgot to turn off the keyless ignition to his vehicle.
“He worked countless days, countless hours,” said the vice president of the AALEA. “He passed away. Unfortunately, he didn’t get enough rest so we want people to be aware that we are there for them as an organization.”
The AALEA has around 500 members in the Midwest. The organization helped raise more than $200,000 dollars for Meng’s family.
His wife, who was also home at the time of the incident, nearly died. She spent a month recovering in the hospital and said her focus now is on their 7-year-old son.
“I think its very critical that people recognize that there are certain times in life while were working [that] it’s okay to ask for help and it’s okay to seek assistance or rest, if they need too,” said Pham.
With days off already canceled for officers going into Memorial Day weekend, the president of AALEA said these officers and their families need the community’s support now more than ever.
“It’s not getting better for us right now, so we just have to make sure all of us are okay,” said Lai. “His wife knows we’re a big family. We look after each [other] and we do the best that we can.”