Rock Island Police Benevolent Association dance returns after two-year COVID hiatus | Local News
After two years of cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rock Island Police Benevolent Association will once again hold its annual dance to benefit local charities.
This year’s Police Dance and Taco Dinner will be held from 5-11 p.m. on April 23 at Culeman’s Memorial Hall at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Moline.
A taco dinner can be purchased for $7 from 5-7 p.m. Otherwise, the event is free and open to the public. There will be dancing and music from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Silent auctions and raffles for items such as gift baskets, overnight stays at local hotels and even a Rock Island High School package to attend next year’s sporting events will be held for raise funds for various charitable activities of the association.
In the past, the money from the dance was used to fund the association’s Christmas food basket program. Each year, the association made food baskets to distribute to people in need in the community. The food program is still ongoing, but is now in conjunction with the Salvation Army, said retired Rock Island Police Lt. Bill Sowards.
People also read…
“The food basket program got so big that we couldn’t manage it ourselves,” Sowards said. “We needed a partner.
Funds raised from the dance also go to support events such as Bob Vogelbaugh’s annual Thanksgiving dinner, as well as grants to public and private schools in the metropolitan area, as well as children’s sports and other activities for children.
“We hope everyone will come out and support a worthy cause,” Sowards said.
A year ago, the dance was a huge social event, he said.
“We would hold these dances at the Rock Island Armory,” Sowards said. “It was a huge deal.”
In the days before rock ‘n’ roll, bands playing the music of Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey and other big band legends of the day drew large crowds.
“There were a lot of bands in those days, and it didn’t cost much to get one to play the gig,” Sowards said.
In the past, these dances were known as the police ball, he added.
While digging around the station in 2012, retired Rock Island Police Officer Mike Crow, who for years was the department’s historian, discovered that the Rock Island Policeman’s Dance dated back to at least 1928. .
Also during these years, the police department and the police pension fund had souvenir books or yearbooks in which advertising was sold.
The money from the dances and yearbooks would be used for a myriad of things, including buying equipment for the department that the city could not afford.
Often the money raised was used to support widows and orphans, Crow said at the time.
“You have to remember there were no social safety nets back then,” he said.
“Eventually bands gave way to DJs and their dance music,” Crow said at the time. “But for many years the dance was followed by just about everyone in the city. All the city leaders and politicians were there too.