Niles Officer Being Recognized After Giving Homeless Man His Shoes

Bernie Tafoya
June 10, 2019 - 1:22 pm
A Niles police officer is winning praise from his department and on social media after literally giving the shoes off his feet to a man in need.

Niles Police Department

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A Niles police officer is winning praise from his department and on social media after literally giving the shoes off his feet to a man in need. 

"It’s who I am. It’s what I signed up to do," said 35-year-old Niles Police Officer Brian Zagorski, who has been on the Niles police force for nearly 12 years.

He said it "may sound cheesy" but that he signed up to be a police officer to help people. 



Saturday evening around 5:15 p.m., Officer Zagorski noticed a homeless man whose shoe was falling apart as the man walked along Milwaukee Avenue.

"He would lift his foot, the sole of the shoe, the rubber would fold underneath so he would constantly trip over his own rubber sole."

Officer Zagorski offered to give the man a ride, which he politely declined. He then said he offered the man his own shoes. They happened to wear the same size, 10.5.

The officer said the man could not believe the officer was literally giving him the shoes off his feet. Zagorski said the man asked, "Are you being serious? I said, ‘yes, you can have my shoes. You want to switch? I’ll trade.'

"He tried them on, looked at me and said, ‘thank you very much. I really appreciate this.'"

Niles Police Officer Brian Zagorski
Niles Police Department


Officer Zagorski also offered the man a bag of H.O.P.E. which contained staples like socks and a toothbrush, but he said the man politely declined.

Officer Zagorski grew up in Niles, went to St. John Brebeuf Catholic Elementary School, Notre Dame High School and Illinois State University, majoring in criminal justice.  He and his wife are now raising two young sons in Niles and he said, "The old theme in Niles used to be, 'Where people count' and I still stand by that."

Niles Police Sgt. Tony Scipione said the department plans to recognize Officer Zagorski for his actions.

"Let’s be honest, this is above and beyond. This is a human helping another human and you can’t teach that," Sgt. Scipione said.