Kids and cops bridge the gap for peace

Police officers and kids are celebrating "Peace in the Park after Dark" this weekend.

Police officers and kids are celebrating "Peace in the Park after Dark" this weekend. 

About 50 kids are participating in the 6th annual event that honors fallen police officer Thomas Wortham IV who was shot in front of his own home in 2010. 

A section of Nat King Cole Park in the city's Chatham neighborhood was cordoned off with police tape, not marking a crime scene, but creating a makeshift welcome mat for the event.

“Morally it feels good.  Look at the smiles on the faces,” said Commander Rodney Blisset.

The event is meant to bring together kids in the community and police officers on a more personal level.  Kids learn things like how to build a tent and race in a potato sack and the officers, they get just as much out of it as the kids do.

“We build a bond with one another, they have questions they want to ask us as officer and we answer them and we try to find out what's in their world,” said Chicago Police officer Ivan Ray.

“He was very concerned with the community and he had actually started being a mentor to kids a couple years prior to his death so he loved kids,” said Thomas Wortham, III, the slain officer’s father.

He says his son, Thomas Wortham IV, a Chicago police officer, was gunned down in front of his own home across the street from the park in 2010.

Police say someone was trying to steal his motorcycle when he was shot and killed.

Wortham's mother says this annual event is just one small way in bridging the gap between the community and the police department.

“We are just hopeful my son was always hopeful and we are just hopeful that we all do our part and we all do what we can do that things will get better,” said Wortham.

The annual event is normally an overnight camping excursion, but because of the wet cold weather the event had to be cut short this year.

This of course did not stop the event - which the family hopes to grow every year.

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