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 PO 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 as he knew he would, and always said “every day is something different, a new challenge.” While on the job two challenges he enjoyed were; being assigned to the Gang Crimes South Unit, and becoming a member of the Hostage, Barricade, and Terrorist Unit (HBT).
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, with a young family of three sons, Erik was 4, and twins Craig and Adam were 4 month’s old. Twenty two years of traumatic brain injury complications, surgeries, and therapies have followed.
Bern currently resides at St. Paul’s House, located on Chicago’s north-side. Every day of his life continues to be a new challenge. Injured as he is, we know the two things he always held important remain the same, love for both his family and The Chicago Police Department. A big part of his day is spent telling stories about each, and always while wearing his Chicago Police Memorial Foundation hat. He is a true hero we all admire with pride.