February Officer of the Month — P.O. Wadell Hardy III
On 18 January 2015 at approximately 1300hrs, P.O. Wadell Hardy III received a call of “Marine Distress.” The caller, Richard Tepp, relayed that a male had taken off his clothes and jumped into Lake Michigan at Oak Street Beach. The caller also stated that the victim began to panic and was struggling to stay above the water.
Responding with a CFD Battalion Chief, Officer Hardy gained access to the beach area and began to search for the victim. He then received additional information from the caller who told the officer to check the area of the lake where the shadow of the Hancock Building lies. Officer Hardy began his search in that area and discovered the victim’s clothing. He notified the Zone and began yelling out, “Is anyone out here!” The victim was able to respond, “I’m here! I’m here! I can’t hold on!” The officer found the struggling man, knelt down and attempted to pull the victim, who was submerged up to his neck, from the water. Officer Hardy found it necessary to lay down flat on the ice to avoid sliding into the water himself. Officer Hardy grabbed the victim’s arms, pulled him to where his knees were above the water and asked him to use his feet to climb out. The victim pleaded with the officer, “don’t let me go,” and Hardy agreed to hold onto him until responding units arrived.
Hardy yelled out his location and CPD Marine Unit Officer Fahey came to his aid. With the help of a CFD diver, the group was able to pull the victim out of the water and transported him to a waiting ambulance. He was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital where he was treated for hypothermia.
The victim was very appreciative and thankful to Officer Hardy for saving him from drowning in Lake Michigan. Officer Hardy is grateful to the CPD and CFD Units who assisted him on scene as well as the caller, Richard Tepp.
Officer Wadell Hardy graduated from the Chicago Police Training Academy in 1993. He was field trained in the 006th District by FTO Anthony Mahoney (Deceased). After working a few years there as a Beat Officer and an Acting FTO for 2 recruits, Hardy transferred to the Public Housing Section of the Chicago Police Dept where he worked in the housing projects for several years in uniform as well as civilian dress. Officer Hardy duty was to handle gang and narcotic activities in the Public Housing Residential areas. While working there, he was also utilized in a secondary Unit known as the “Double Play Unit.” After both units were dissolved, Officer Hardy transferred to the 018th District where he is currently assigned.