Dozens of girls being raised without fathers weren't left out Friday night when the Chicago Police Department held its first-ever "Daddy Daughter Dance."
The event at the South Shore Cultural Center wasn't intended for officers and their daughters, but rather as a way for all dads to spend a formal evening with their little girls. Still, many of the girls who come from neighborhoods where poverty and violence leave little for celebration got a very special escort: a commander, sergeant or officer who was happy to stand in for their dads.
"It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing because some people don't really associate with their fathers," said 13-year-old Brejay Payne. "So once you come out, dressed up, and dance, eat, and play with your father, it's kind of a nice day."
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Girls, dads, and officers were dressed to the nines for the free, formal event. While the girls got an opportunity to enjoy food and refreshments and be the center of attention, officers got a chance to connect with community members and show that policing is more than just walking a beat.
"They actually get to see us to find out that that the police are nothing but people. We just happen to have uniforms on," said Cmdr. Larry Watson.
Chicago police districts 5, 7, and 9, as well as the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, planned the dance. They said they hope to make it an annual event.