Champaign-Urbana, Ill. (WCIA)

Be Kind and Give Grace is a fundraiser for the Community Outreach and Support Team (COAST) at the University of Illinois Police Department. At the leadership of Chief Alice Cary, The COAST unit was developed with the primary goal of offering education and prevention services to the community. COAST members provide presentations related to campus safety, active threats, and de-escalation skills. Another COAST unit is the I-PAWS (Providing Assistance With Support) Therapy K9 program. Therapy dogs Archie, Kirby, Lollipop, and Rosie are available to comfort our community in times of crisis, and to offer stress reduction throughout the school year. The COAST unit also teaches self-defense skills and provides safety planning for U of I students, faculty, and staff members. The Response Evaluation and Crisis Help (REACH) team within COAST pairs crisis responders with patrol officers as a co-response unit for police calls related to mental health concerns. By using mental health professionals on-scene, REACH can more effectively responded to these types of calls. In addition to on-scene response, REACH provides follow-up services to prevent future crises.

With late Lt. Aaron Landers at the helm, the COAST unit began in 2021 and since that time has expanded to include 3 full-time social workers, 2 student interns, 10 sworn employees, and four therapy dogs. Since inception, the COAST unit has given hundreds of presentations, therapy K9s have met over 50,000 campus and community members, and the REACH team has provided on-scene response and follow-up services to over 500 individuals. COAST recently wrapped up this semester’s Community Police Academy. The Be Kind and Give Grace fundraiser will support continued growth of the COAST unit. This will allow for improved community engagement activities, increased K9 therapy visits, and sustained REACH team efforts to encourage help-seeking behavior of those in crisis. Be Kind and Give Grace is held in remembrance of Lt. Aaron Landers who was tragically killed in August 2021. As a UIPD officer, Lt. Landers was passionate about suicide prevention and worked to train officers across the state about suicide and responding to those in crisis. The COAST unit thanks you in advance for your support.

What: COAST fundraiser
When: 3/26 2-6pm
Where: City Center 505 S Chestnut St. Champaign
Tickets: $25, scan QR code on attached flyer ( or request paper ticket from COAST
Entertainment: 90’s Daughter, silent auction
Food: Pulled pork and sides (included in admission)

University of Illinois Police Department
1110 W. Springfield Ave. | M/C 240
Urbana, IL 61801
217.300.5100 |