Chicago police officers raise $6,800 for ‘Get Behind the Vest’ program

The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation program pays for officers’ vests, which need to be replaced every five years.

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A table of body armor for CPD officers and a yellow sign that says Get Behind the Vest.

The $6,800 donation made by Officers Majid Mustafa and Nicole Rinaldi will go toward the Get Behind the Vest program.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times file

When someone paid for their coffees at a Dunkin’ a few months ago, Chicago Police Officers Majid Mustafa and Nicole Rinaldi wanted to continue to pay it forward. But they found no one behind them in line.

That small act of kindness started Mustafa and Rinaldi thinking about ways they could give back. They started raising money for the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation’s Get Behind the Vest program.

“We decided early on that we weren’t going to ask fellow police officers for donations, Mustafa said. “So over the course of four months, we started asking for donations from businesses across the city of Chicago, and here we are.”

Mustafa and Rinaldi, while off duty, went to businesses across the city in search of donations. They collected $6,800.

Get Behind the Vest will use the money to replace Chicago police officers’ body armor. The vests cost about $500 and need to be replaced about every five years.

The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation has replaced more than 12,000 vests since the effort began in 2014, said Joe Salemme, the foundation’s director of operations.

Mustafa presented a check to police Supt. David Brown and Salemme during a news conference Tuesday at police headquarters. Rinaldi was unable to attend.

“They did all this to give back to their fellow officers and to help give the families of officers receiving new vests a little peace of mind that their loved ones are protected in active situations,” Brown said.

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