A retired cop is making face shields to help protect his former colleagues in the Chicago Police Department from the coronavirus.
Mark Mattozzi came up with the idea last week and started making the shields Saturday. He’s made more than 400 so far.
“You see, in addition to being a cop all my life, I’m also a sailor, and you have to fix things on a boat, and this requires learning how to sew. So I took a class and bought a machine,” said Mattozzi, 54, who lives on the Near North Side.
“I can make one in under a minute,” he said. “I’ll make them until my fingers fall off.”
The shields are meant to be worn when interacting with the public to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, he said.
“They’re simple, practical and tactical,” said Matttozzi, whose first batch went to officers at the Town Hall District station just east of Wrigley Field. “The guys love having them.”
Mattozzi has spent a few hundred dollars on supplies and hopes his efforts inspire others to pitch in, too.
“I want to help out my brothers in blue. I love the Chicago Police Department,” said Mattozzi, who was devastated Thursday to learn his longtime friend, active duty police officer Marco DiFranco, died after contracting the coronavirus.
“I was in tears. I’m devastated. This is a war we’re at, this is my way of fighting a war. And I want to help prevent what happened to my friend from happening to others.”