Actors who have played police officers pitch for 100 Club of Chicago

By Shia Kapos
Chicago Business

The 100 Club of Chicago has brought together six Chicago actors who have played police officers on TV and in film to raise funds for the organization, which helps support families of officers killed in the line of duty.

Dennis Farina, Dennis Franz, Joe Mantegna, William Petersen, Gary Sinise and Tom Dreesen have taped public-service announcements asking for support of the 100 Club. (Yes, Mr. Dreesen, a standup comic, played a Harvey cop in “Leviathan,” an independent film that never saw the big screen.

Along with aiding police officers’ families, the organization, founded in 1966, also provides financial and educational support for surviving spouses and dependents of firefighters and paramedics who have lost their lives on the job.

“These actors have a profound respect and appreciation for police officers and firefighters for what they do for all of us. This is their way of giving thanks,” said Joe Ahern, executive director of the organization.

Mr. Ahern snagged the Hollywood support thanks to his friend Mr. Dreesen, who rallied the actors within an hour of Mr. Ahern’s call.

“I was getting my hair cut and Joe called and said, ‘Tommy, we need to do something,’ ” Mr. Ahern recalled. An hour later, the actors were lined up. “It’s so indicative of Chicagoans. They have no egos. When I called, no one said, ‘Let me call my agent.’ They said, ‘I’m in.’ ”

Since its inception, the 100 Club of Chicago has served 244 families by giving more than $8.6 million — $4 million of that designated to educational assistance for dependents.

Follow Shia on Twitter at @ShiaKapos.