Officer Michael Lappe was born and raised on the west side of Chicago in the Austin community as one of ten siblings. In 1978 Mike was hired by the City of Chicago as a civilian member in the Mass Transit Unit of the Chicago Police Department. A 1980 graduate of the Police Education and Training Division, Mike has worked in the 020th, 025th, 011th, Training Division, 016th District, Bureau of Administrative Services and currently holds the position as the “Field Technology Officer” at the Education and Training Division, Bureau of Professional Services.
On April 24th 1988, Mike suffered a gunshot wound to his throat while attempting to speak to a person after responding to a domestic disturbance call. It was this call and the forever life changing event from a resulting spinal cord injury that left Mike a paraplegic. After 4 ½ months of hospitalization and out patient rehabilitation over several years, this sent Mike into a new direction within the Chicago Police Department. Mike was given a second chance by the grace of God as he regained the use of his legs leaving his wheelchair and quad canes behind.
Returning to work in a limited duty capacity, Mike was assigned to the Neighborhood Relations office in the 016th District. During this assignment, Mike’s accomplishments are many. Mike has received numerous chamber awards as well as numerous complimentary letters from the community. Mike is the creator of the enormously popular “Take a Kid Fishing” day which now has been implemented into the Chicago Park District as well as all 25 police district’s community policing units. Some of Mike’s past duties included being the assistant leader of the Chicago Area Council’s Explorer Post 9916, a teen-based program that promotes civic values and affords unique career opportunities for its participants. Mike has devoted himself to promoting safety on our streets among grade schools and senior citizen groups.
Mike has an enviable reputation and is one of the officers who in his career is routinely approached by other officers with their problems. Officers trust his ability; his judgment is impeccable while his analysis of a situation is superb as he mentors an officer.
While off duty, Mike went back to night school and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and a Master Degree in Public Safety Administration.
In 1996, Mike along with five other officers who were involved in on-duty traumatic incidents established the “Police Survivors”. The organization’s mission is to “Take Care of Our Own”. The Police Survivors also assist in the recovery of any Police Officer who was seriously and traumatically injured in the Line of Duty in the State of Illinois. This goal is accomplished through one on one hospital or home visitations with similarly wounded police officers, return to the scene visitations, private independent counseling services and small financial grants. This initiative resulted in the support group’s care and mentoring critically injured officers, who otherwise would have to face their circumstances alone. From the “Police Survivors” beginning to this present day, Mike has unselfishly spent hundreds upon hundreds of man hours visiting officers throughout Northern Illinois but mostly in the Chicago land area. Mike also lectures to Metro and Chicago Police Academy classes with a message of how an incident can go tragically wrong and how to mentally survive. During the traumatic recovery period, the officer’s family is also involved and offered professional counseling if they choose so.