Driver Jim Cahill's four-cylinder, front-wheel-drive Chevrolet Cobalt will bear a large portrait of Omaha Police Officer Kerrie Orozco on its hood while kicking up dust in the sport compact class on the dirt tracks of I-80 Speedway and Eagle Raceway this season. The car is also emblazoned with the logos "Support Blue" and "Kerrie On," reports Omaha.com.
"I wanted to bring attention to the Support Blue campaign and in particular the work of Officer Orozco," Cahill said Wednesday while displaying the car at Omaha PD's northwest precinct. "I learned in the Air Force long ago that if you want to make a difference in this life, you need to care, share and give a damn. When I think about Kerrie's life and all the things she did, those ideals really describe her."
Orozco died May 20 at age 29 after being shot by Marcus Wheeler near 30th Street and Martin Avenue as police sought to arrest the fugitive on an assault warrant. Wheeler, a 26-year-old gang member with a substantial criminal record, was killed when officers returned fire.
The First Responders Foundation and Orozco's family gave their blessing to Cahill's decision to honor the fallen officer on his race car. Jim Hanson, a member of the foundation's executive board, said he thinks it will be a good public reminder of the good that police officers do.
"(Cahill) is bringing awareness to Support Blue," Hanson said. "We know that 99 percent of police officers are great people and that's who we're here to support."
Cahill, 55, decided to get back into racing 30 years after he last took the track as a young man growing up in Ohio. After the Air Force, he was an officer with the Bellevue (NE) Police Department.
Cahill now works as director of security for the Nebraska Furniture Mart and operates his own security company. He expects to go racing every weekend with the sponsorship of First Wireless Communications, T. Henery's Pub and G's Pub.