Team 571 is a public-private partnership between the Ken-Ton Closet, the Town of Tonawanda Police and other first responders to strengthen relationships with at-risk youth in our community.
Work on this project began in the Fall of 2019 as the Police Department began to formulate a plan to reimagine Community Engagement for their law enforcement officers. In March 2020, Lieutenant Christine Milosich was named to the Community Services Bureau and began to proactively work on a comprehensive plan to create positive relationships between the police and the residents of the Town. Despite COVID shutdowns occurring shortly after her appointment, she worked diligently with the Ken-Ton Closet and Ken-Ton Cares to match those programs with residents in need. She also initiated Facebook Live videos and the annual Duck Hunt to try to engage families during a time of great social and emotional stress. As an active member of the Town of Tonawanda Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative, she researched existing initiatives such as Cheektowaga's Police Department's Blue Bridges program and brought forward innovative approaches to the table. She had a passion for therapy dogs and wanted to bridge the gap between our officers and people of all ages and backgrounds. She recognized the value of all of the members of our first responder team and sought ways to promote engagement between those entities as well.
Chrissy was the first female Lieutenant for the Department, promoted in October of 2017. After a hard fought battle with cancer, she passed away on March 1st, 2021 one day short of her appointment to the Community Services Bureau. Later that month, she was posthumously awarded the rank of Captain, badge number 571. She was a tireless advocate who spent many hours at the Closet and we dearly miss her presence with us.
Donations made to the Closet in her memory by individuals and the New ARA Jeep Club were earmarked for supporting the work of the Community Service Bureau. In August of 2021 (and again, in August 2022), her family organized a ride in her honor with proceeds donated to the Closet with the intent of establishing a scholarship awarded in her name to TTPD female police officers with preference given to those wishing to initiate a community service project. In January 2021 and again in January 2022, the Closet was the designated recipient of the Town of Tonawanda Police Beard Fundraiser proceeds. This money was dedicated to projects Chrissy would have been proud of including: t-shirts for elementary students, Friends Feeding Friends, the Fishing Derby (snacks, rods, fishing gear, flyers), Community Engagement shirts for police officers, T-shirts for Cadets, and Halloween treat bags. These funding opportunities also allowed us to formally establish Team 571 (November 2022) in her memory and in honor of her work. Our goals are to:
Establish an opportunity for the Closet to support School Liaison Officer (SLO) and School Resource Officer (SRO) projects that would benefit at risk youth within their home schools (KTUFSD public schools and Glendale Elementary of Sweet Home School District). This would include emergency access to existing Closet programs, and creation of outreach projects (preference given to low-income students)
Establish a scholarship in Chrissy’s name as described as above.
Support programs that engage community youth such as the Fishing Derby, Duck Hunt, Trunk or Treat, Gang task force, therapy dogs, and assist with emergent events for vulnerable populations such as our diaper drive for the Ukraine.
Captain Christine Milosich
On Tuesday, November 29th, Team 571 was officially launched with its first event hosted at Holmes Elementary School to increase engagement between students and Andy Thompson of the Town of Tonawanda Police Department. Officer Thompson is the department’s liaison officer for Holmes Elementary School. Each month, Officer Thompson will hold a pizza lunch party with a different grade level through this new program. The monthly luncheons kicked off with kindergarteners where they were able to enjoy pizza and snacks and get to know Officer Thompson. They were also excited to meet the Town of Tonawanda Police Department’s police K-9, Diehl and her handler Officer R Taber.
Officer liaisons such as Officer Thompson play an important role in Ken-Ton Schools. They perform a multitude of roles such as assisting with drills, serving as the school’s primary point of contact with the police department, attending events, and educating students about important safety topics.
On January 17th, we got to attend Holmes for the second pizza party for our first graders! Thank you Holmes staff, Officers Thompson and R. Taber, as well as our favorite K-9 Diehl!