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Shawn Kennedy - Chairperson

Shawn Kennedy has been a sworn member of the Chicago Police Department for over 29 years. He served as a Police Officer in the Patrol Division; as a Detective in Area South Detective Division, Domestic Violence Program, and Internal Affairs-Confidential Investigations Section; and as a Sergeant in the Patrol Division, Management and Labor Affairs Section, and Office of the Superintendent (Project Management Team). Before retiring in December 2019, Shawn was last detailed to the Bureau of Organizational Development (Professional Counseling Division). That new role afforded Shawn the administrative latitude to work closely with the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), in order to implement initiatives that promoted officer wellness, reduced police suicides, and removed the stigma associated with mental illness. Shawn has also been a peer support member for approximately 17 years.

Shawn has been an active member in several local and national Black police associations during the past 30 plus years. This include the Guardians, Chicago Westside Police Association (CWPA), the National Black Police Association (NBPA), and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE). In 2000, Shawn formed the Midwest Coalition of African American Police Officers (MCAAPO). He most recently served as the Information Officer for the National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers (NABLEO) and the Editor of its official newsletter The Guardian’s Voice for the past 11 years. During the onset of the pandemic in 2020, Shawn created and managed four social media platforms for NABLEO, which gave him direct access to police officers nationally. His role inadvertently led him to becoming the point-of-contact for Black officers looking for support from retaliation, demotion, racial and gender discrimination, disparate discipline, and termination. This opened the door for NABLEO to not only provide public support for these officers, but also to tap into its networking partnerships as a resource. Shawn currently serves as the new Chairman for NABLEO. One of his primary focuses will be on the rarely discussed, unique issues affecting Black female officers in law enforcement. Shawn is also one of the founding members of the National Strategy of Blacks in Policing and is a Board Advisor with Strategies for Justice.

Shawn is a devoted father and grandfather who has mentored many youths over the past decades, both individually and within several structured programs. He promotes the power of knowledge and independence through education, having earned both his MBA in Business Management and his MS degree in Finance (Financial Fraud) at St. Xavier University. Shawn is an avid reader and a freelance writer. His written work includes several published articles on fatherhood and education; newsletters for various organizations; and a 20-page youth reference guide. Shawn’s last op-ed Racism Within Police Ranks: A Look At The Struggles of Black Cops By A Former Officer was published in USA Today in 2021.