Retired officer donates masks to Sagamore Hills police

Handmade gifts part of tradition during Police Memorial Week

Kent Weeklies

SAGAMORE HILLS — If residents see township police officers sporting black masks with a blue horizontal stripe, they come courtesy of one of their own.

Police Chief David Hayes said township resident Margery Slatkovsky, a retired Cleveland police sergeant, presented the handmade masks to the department in honor of Police Memorial Week in May. He said the 17 masks, one for each department member, are personalized with the recipient’s radio call number.

“It’s something really nice that a member of the community would do for the officers, especially a retired officer doing it for the officers that have to work through this COVID-19,” he said.

The masks use the Thin Blue Line design, which represents the thin line the police represent between society and disorder.

“This was a way I figured I could have their backs without being out there myself and trying to protect them a little bit,” said Slatkovsky.

She had served herself for 16 years, including as a sex crimes detective, until she was forced to retire due to an injury suffered in the line of duty in 2011. She moved to the township from Cleveland at the end of 2015 and began her annual support for the township police department the following May.

“As a police officer, I know it matters that the community supports you so that’s really where it came from, that we want to let them know that we appreciate them and we support them,” she said. “We know their job is not easy, especially at this time.”

For several years, she would bring the offciers treats, such as large, individually wrapped, police-themed cookies from Stan’s Northfield Bakery or donuts from Olde School Donuts and Bakery, both in Northfield Center, and jars filled with candy and carrying a message.

“I would put Starbursts into them and put, ‘You’re the stars of our neighborhood’ and gum because ‘You guys stick together’ and Dum Dums because ‘You don’t run into enough of those,’” she said. “So every year, I would take them these jars of candy, but I figured this year with the virus and the touchiness that it probably wasn’t good, them sticking their hands into jars and sharing the germs.”

Meanwhile, she was making masks for an assisted living facility she works at and started using the Thin Blue Line design on masks and donating those to “mothers who’ve lost their sons in the line of duty and things like that.”

“And then when I was thinking about what to do this year for police week, I just thought, oh, I’d make them masks and maybe that will be a better gesture than the traditional candy and cookies and stuff I do every year,” said Slatkovsky.

She said, “I didn’t do this for any attention.

“I want it to be more about the fact that [the police] are awesome and they do things for us,” she said.

Reporter Jeff Saunders can be reached at or @JeffSaunders_RP.