Born and raised in Chicago, it was always Bernie’s professional dream to become a Chicago Police officer. Six years after taking the test, his dream came true, and in 1981 he proudly became P.O. Bernard W. Domagala, star #8996. It was one of the two most important things in his life. The other was his family. He loved his job and was proud of being assigned to the Gang Crimes South Unit, and becoming a member of the Hostage, Barricade, and Terrorist Unit.
Shortly before his shift was over on the afternoon of July 14th 1988, Bernie responded to a hostage situation at 7237 S. Stony Island Avenue. Officers surrounded the property, and Bern had taken a defensive position at the corner of the garage. In a split second, he looked around the corner at the house, and in that split second the offender shot his gun, hitting Bern above his eye in the forehead. He was transported to Michael Reese Hospital where he underwent 6 hours of surgery to remove a bullet from his brain. Bern was 37 years old at the time.
Years of traumatic brain injury complications, surgeries, and therapies have followed. Every day of his life continues to be a new challenge. For the past several years, Bern had been living in a traumatic brain injury rehabilitation center in Southern Illinois.
Now, the CPMF is happy to report that Bern has moved to a new home in Chicago. On hand to welcome Bern home were his wife, Denise, and sons Erik, Adam and Craig, and many Chicago Police Officers. Denise and the boys are happy to have him back in the City that he loves and to once again be close to them and his police family. Bern enjoys being around police officers and attending CPMF events. We know the two things he always held important remain the same, love for both his family and The Chicago Police Department. The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation is proud to welcome a true hero home.
Several members of the K-9 unit regularly visit Bernie in his new home in Chicago. If anyone is interested in paying Bernie Domagala a visit, please contact the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation at 312-499-8899.