Chicago police officer remembered for his dedication to the city of 24and as the city continues to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
24and The Chicago District Police Station unveiled a new memorial hall honoring the memory of four officers, including Xu Meng.
“Meng’s family was here. His wife and son were here and it was very emotional and his in-laws were watching overseas in China and they were in tears,” said Asian American Law Enforcement Association President Henry Lai.
A private dedication ceremony was held Wednesday afternoon in Rogers Park as his family and friends reflected on his time in service.
“It was very emotional when you look at the plaque with his picture on it,” he said. “It feels like it happened yesterday, but it’s been two years already.”
The 22-month-old veteran officer died of carbon monoxide poisoning in his own home in the summer of 2020. Family and friends believe he was exhausted from working 12-hour shifts for 12 days in a row that he forgot to turn off the keyless ignition of his vehicle. .
“He worked countless days, countless hours,” said the AALEA vice-president. “He passed away. Unfortunately he didn’t get enough rest, so we want people to know that we are here for them as an organization.
AALEA has about 500 members in the Midwest. The organization has helped raise over $200,000 for Meng’s family.
His wife, who was also at home at the time of the incident, nearly died. She spent a month recovering in hospital and said her focus is now on their 7-year-old son.
“I think it’s very important for people to recognize that there are certain times in life when they were working [that] it’s okay to ask for help and it’s fine to ask for help or rest, if they need it too,” Pham said.
With days off already canceled for officers entering Memorial Day weekend, the AALEA president said these officers and their families need community support now more than ever.
“It’s not getting better for us right now, so we just have to make sure we’re all okay,” Lai said. “His wife knows we are a big family. We take care of everyone [other] and we’re doing the best we can.