On February, 18, 2014 at approximately 11:18 AM, P.O. Abraham Lara was on routine patrol in the 011th District. As he approached the area of 514 N. Hamlin, Officer Lara came upon an individual discharging an automatic weapon. Without hesitation, Lara announced his presence as a police officer and engaged the shooter. Instead of surrendering, the offender fired on Officer Lara and escaped in a waiting white Kia Optima. The officer relayed the events to responding officers and gave a detailed description of the armed offenders and their vehicle. Officer Mario Mendoza, Officer Robert Caulfield and Officer Mike Alaniz heard Officer Lara’s call of “shots fired” at the police and went to assist. While en route, the officers spotted the offenders, activated their emergency equipment and attempted to curb the fleeing vehicle. The offenders refused to stop and attempted to elude the officers. In the area of 28th Street and the Dan Ryan Expressway, the squad pulled alongside the offender’s vehicle and one of the occupants pointed a Tech 9 automatic firearm in the officers’ direction. Officer Caulfield and Officer Mendoza, in fear for their safety, fired several shots at the offender who kept popping up and down in the rear of the vehicle. As the offenders exited the expressway at 35th Street, Officer Alaniz fired on the fleeing vehicle causing the driver to lose control and crash. Weapons drawn, the three officers tactfully approached the offender’s vehicle. P.O. Mendoza opened the rear passenger door and found one of the offenders pointing his gun directly at the officer. Mendoza immediately fired on the offender and neutralized the threat. Officers Caulfield and Alaniz then moved in and were able to take the remaining offenders into custody. P.O. Abe Lara joined the Chicago Police Department in October of 1995. He has spent his entire career in the 011th District where he has served on the Area 4 Midnight Tact Team and Gang Team. He is currently assigned to the 2nd Watch. P.O. Robert Caulfield joined the Chicago Police Department in August of 2007. He began his police career in the 009th District and moved to the Area Central Saturation Team in 2012. He is currently assigned to the 005th District Tact Team. Officer Caulfield has more than 100 honorable mentions, 3 Department commendations and multiple complimentary letters. He has also been honored with the “Back of the Yards” Award and was presented the “Hero Award” at the “Battle of the Badges” in 2014. Officer Caulfield is the proud father of two young daughters. P.O. Michael Alaniz joined the Chicago Police Department in February of 2003. He began his career in the 009th District and worked there for 10 years before moving to Area Central Saturation. Officer Alaniz is currently assigned to the 009th District. P.O. Mario Mendoza is a 13-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department. He began his career in the 011th District where he was the regular partner of fallen Chicago police officer Michael Gordon. Officer Mendoza has also worked […]
On March 24, 2015, Officers Michael S. Lawrence and Sergio Valdez were on Bicycle Patrol near the intersection of Michigan Ave and Chestnut, when they were informed by a Citizen that there was a male laying on the ground at the intersection of Michigan Ave and Walton. Officers Michael S. Lawrence and Sergio Valdezrelocated to Michigan Ave and Walton, upon arrival they observed an unresponsive male on the ground in the middle of Michigan Ave and Walton. Officer Michael S. Lawrence immediately began performing chest compressions, Officer Sergio Valdez began redirecting traffic off Michigan Ave and assisted Michael S. Lawrence in any way possible. The 75 year old male slowly regained consciousness and began to breathe. Both Officers continued to monitor the victim until CFD ambulance #18 arrived and transported him to Northwestern Hospital where he was listed in serious condition. Officer Sergio Valdez began his career as a Chicago police officer on February 25, 2002. During his 13 years on the Chicago Police Department he has been assigned to the 007th District, 025th District, and is currently assigned to the Area Central Bicycle Patrol Unit. Officer Michael S. Lawrence joined the Chicago Police Department in January 28, 2003. During his career as a police officer, he worked in the 007th district, 025th district and is currently assigned to the Area Central Bicycle Patrol Unit.
On March 26, 2015, Officer Michael K. Ephraim was working at Midway Airport when he was informed by the Manager of Harry Caray’s restaurant that a customer was having trouble breathing. Officer Walter M. Bland responded to the same call and upon arriving, observed P.O. Ephraim lifting an unresponsive man out of a chair and onto the floor. P.O. Ephraim performed CPR on the victim and P.O. Bland assisted while another officer retrieved the AED machine. The victim slowly regained consciousness and began to breathe. The AED machine was administered to the victim and announced “Shock Not Advised.” Both Officers continued to monitor the victim until CFD ambulance #21 arrived and transported him to MacNeal Hospital where he was listed in serious condition. Officer Walter M. Bland Jr. began his career as a Chicago police officer in December of 1985. During his 29 years on the Chicago Police Department he has been assigned to the 003rd District, 008th District, Area 3 mission team, The Auto Pound Section, OEMC, 001st District and is currently assigned to Midway Airport. Officer Michael K. Ephraim joined the Chicago Police Department in May of 1981. During his career as a police officer, he worked in the 003rd district, 009th district and is currently assigned to Midway Airport.
Officer Mark Davis began his career with the Chicago Police Department in August of 1994. He has worked in the 019th Dist, 008th Dist, Area 1 Mission Team, 021st Dist. and as an Instructor at the Chicago Police Training Academy’s Transitional Workshop. He is Currently assigned to the Crime Scene Investigations Unit as an Evidence Technician. On November 6, 2013, a semi tractor-trailer crashed and burst into flames on I-57 near Wentworth Avenue. Officer Davis was returning to his unit of assignment to complete an earlier investigation when he observed the flames and immediately proceeded to the crash site. Davis discovered that the 59 year old driver of the crashed semi was laying next to the burning wreckage. The driver was surrounded by flames and leaking fuel and due to his injuries, was unable to remove himself from imminent danger. Officer Davis discovered a path through the flames to the driver. The driver explained to officer Davis that he was unable to walk because of the burns on his feet. As the flames surrounding them were becoming more intense, officer Davis made the decision to physically lift the driver and was able pull him to safety. Read the ABC 7 News Story
Marlene Rivera became a Chicago Police officer in August 1995. Throughout her near 19 year career as a patrolwoman, Officer Rivera worked on the Southside and Northside of Chicago before ending up in the 014th District. Officer Edwin Pagan #4438 is also assigned to the 014th Police District. During the 15 years Officer Pagan served on the police force, he received 25 various department awards and 110 honorable mentions while he worked on several patrol units. As a resident of the 014th district for over 44 years, Officer Pagan volunteers his time in his community as a youth mentor to reduce gang activity and violence. On May 4 2015, an incident occurred where a young boy was severely shot in the leg by a drive by shooter at 3100 West Armitage in the Walgreens parking lot. Officer Rivera notified OEMC as she took off the victim’s t-shirt and placed it around the wound while applying pressure. Officer Rivera then requested CFD and put out a description of the vehicle that the offenders were operating at the time of the incident. Officer Edwin Pagan was on patrol in the 14th Police District working Beat 1406A when he responded to an assist call from Officer Marlene Rivera. When Officer Pagan arrived on scene he immediately use his LEMART training by making a makeshift tourniquet from a belt he received from a nearby citizen. While waiting for the ambulance to arrive Officer Pagan was able to strap the young boy’s leg with the belt to stop blood flow. CFD Chief of Paramedics Fitzgerald came to the scene and applied a traditional tourniquet to the victim’s leg. Shortly after, the ambulance followed and immediately treated the victim with proper care. The 014th District Police Officers responded admirably and with great intent. Offenders were apprehended, weapons were recovered, and the boy was taken to Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, where he recuperated from a rupture in his femoral artery and nerve damage where the bullet penetrated. With the heroic actions of both Officer Rivera and Pagan the young boy’s life was spared along with his leg.
Mark Czapla is an officer of 14 years with the Chicago Police Department. He spent a majority of his career working on the streets of the 015th District before moving into the 020th District. On the cold night of 14 Feb 2015, Officer Czapla and his partner Officer Joe Groh found themselves in a Walgreen’s parking lot (Czapla was planning on buying his wife a Valentines Day card) when they observed a commotion. Employees of the store were following a subject who had stolen numerous items.Naturally, the officers confronted the sizeable subject and informed him he would be arrested for shoplifting. Within moments the thief became agitated and began to resist the lawful arrest. After striking the officers, the words of, “he’s going for my gun…he’s got my gun,” were heard by Officer Czapla; the assailant some how had managed to disarm Officer Groh, pulling his pistol out of the holster. Immediately thereafter, a round had been shot at the officers during the struggle; the shot had missed the intended targets. With the intensity increasing, Officer Czapla was finally able to gain control of the pistol and pull it out of the hands of the assailant, a former Army veteran. Heroically, two citizens, Ray Robinson and Christopher Smith, also came to the aid to help gain control of the situation. With responding officers from the 020th and even 024th Districts, the assailant was arrested. He was charged with attempted first-degree murder, disarming a peace officer, and possession of a controlled substance; his bail was set at 2 million dollars.
Officer John Poulos #5972 joined the Chicago Police Department 26 March 2001. Officer Poulos grew up Chicago’s South Chicago neighborhood and has strong ties to the 004th District where he is currently assigned. Officer Poulos has been an instructor in the Education & Training Division teaching L.E.M.A.R.T. (Law Enforcement Medical Aid & Rescue Training) as well worked in the 007th District during his career. On 21 February 2015, Officer Poulos was on his way to the 004th District via southbound LSD when he witnessed an automobile swerve out-of-control and violently crash into a tree. Realizing the danger an accident of this magnitude possessed for the occupant(s), Officer Poulos pulled over to assist. Officer Poulos found a young man unresponsive and pinned within the mangled wreck. The automobile had caught fire in the engine compartment and smoke filled the inner compartment. A good samaritan used his fire extinguisher to quell the fire while Officer Poulos and others attempted to free the driver. At one point, the good Samaritan shouted that he was out of extinguisher and “the fire was flaring up again within the compartment and for everyone to get back.” Officer Poulos knowing that CFD would not arrive in time decided to risk his life by entering the vehicle to cut free the driver and extract him before the compartment was engulfed in flames. With the help of an off-duty firefighter (Tom – Kenosha Fire Department), Officer Poulos cut away the driver’s belt along with the seat and freed him from the fiery & smoke filled compartment where he was trapped. Officer Poulos was able to stabilize the driver until EMS could arrive using his LEMART training. Officer Poulos seeing the need to act, took control of this situation and directed the rescue to save this young mans life.
On November 24, 2011, P.O. Jamie Chesna and her partner were on a routine patrol in the 007th District when they witnessed a driver commit a traffic violation. The officers activated their emergency equipment and curbed the offending vehicle at 73rd Street and Emerald Avenue. As the officers exited their squad car, the offender sped away and attempted to flee. The officers pursued the vehicle until it crashed into a building. The offender then fled the scene with Officer Chesna in pursuit. As officer Chesna approached, the offender punched her in the face and tried to gain control of her service weapon. After a brief struggle, the officer was able to push the offender away and discharged her weapon, fatally wounding the individual. The officer was treated for her injuries and a fully loaded handgun was discovered in the offender’s vehicle. P.O. Jamie Chesna, #11881, is a 10-year veteran of the Chicago police department, currently assigned to the Narcotics Division. She also served in the Gang Enforcement Division, Area Central Gun Team, Area Central Saturation Team, 007th District, 005th District and 002nd District.
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.
On October 22nd, 2013 Sergeant Cascone and 005th District Officers responded to a “Person with a Knife” call at 258 E 107th St. Once on scene, they heard screams coming from the house and the offender was seen through a window attempting to stab his mother with a knife. The decision was made for a forced entry. Sgt Cascone pried open the security gate and struck the front door with a battering ram. Waiting in ambush, the offender attacked Sgt Cascone with two large butcher knives as he entered the front door. The offender managed to close and lock the security gate and barricade the front door. Sgt Cascone sustained multiple stab wounds to his face. 005th District Officers made a second forced entry to the house and found that the offender had turned on all of the stove burners to flood the home with gas. Officer Chris Skarupinski shut off the gas and broke windows to ventilate the house. Officers Skarupinski, Nelson Lopez and Lawrence Williams came upon the offender, who was still armed with two butcher knives, in the basement. They ordered the offender to drop the knives, but he refused and lunged at Officer Skarupinski. Officers Skarupinski, Williams and Lopez each fired their weapons in fear of their lives. The offender was struck about the body and fell to the ground. He later expired from his wounds. Sgt. James Cascone: joined the Chicago Police Department in May of 1994 and is currently assigned to the 005th District/Calumet. During his extensive police career, Sgt. Cascone has served in the 010th District, 001st District, 022nd District, 008th District, 21st District, 007th District and Mobile Strike Force. P.O. Chris Skarupinski: joined the Chicago Police Department in May of 2008 and is currently assigned to the 005th District/Calumet as a Tactical Officer. P.O. Skarupinski has also served in TRU and the Area South Detective Division. P.O. Lawrence Williams: joined the Chicago Police Department in 2004 and is currently assigned to the Gang Intelligence Division. He has also served in the 005th District and the Fugitive Apprehension Unit. P.O. Nelson Lopez: joined the Chicago Police Department in October of 2001 and is currently assigned to the 005th District/Calumet. He has also served in the 004th District, 025th District, 019th District, 008th District and Mobile Strike Force.
In March 1990, Chicago Police officer James Love, assigned to 002nd District Tactical Unit, was informed by his Lieutenant, Leroy Grant that the Gangster Disciples street gang had a meeting and announced a $60,000 contract on Officer Love’s life. Love had arrested numerous members of the Gangster Disciples and was instrumental in dismantling many of their drug operations. On July 6, 1990, while still assigned to the 002nd District Tactical Unit, Officer Love was working with his teammates Officers Marty Ryczek and Dave Feltman. The trio proceeded toward their target area of the Stateway Housing Projects and established a very meticulous surveillance plan which included monitoring Officer Love who had been dropped off at 37th and LaSalle Streets. While waiting for his teammates to stage a safe set-up location for surveillance, Officer Love was approached by a cargo van. Without warning, the doors of the van flew open and two armed offenders forced the officer inside, disarmed him of his service weapon and discarded his police radio. The officer was then driven to an abandoned garage and forced from the van at gunpoint. The officer pleaded for his life as he was shot once above his left knee, twice in his sternum and once in his elbow. The officer was left for dead. Fortunately, Officer Love was able to exercise the training he received from the Chicago Police Training Academy as well as from his Sergeant, Kenneth Mann, a Special Forces veteran. As Officer Love laid there fighting for his life, he recalled a roll call where Sgt. Mann was teaching his team survival skills and other techniques. Mann’s words echoed in the officer’s mind, “bullets don’t always kill, shock will kill you- remain calm and assess first.” Officer Love asserted his survival skills by removing his shoe laces and creating a tourniquet with them for his leg and his arm. He then began walking the best he could out of the abandoned garage, calling out repeatedly with his badge in his hand, “help I’m an officer, I just been shot, Help!!!” A man placing fishing equipment into the trunk of a car looked into his direction as he was shouting and pleading for help, but the man backed away and walked into a building. With shock setting in, Officer Love leaned against a fence and slid down into a seated position. Moments later, a woman emerged from a building with towels in her hands and she began to cradle Officer Love’s head in her lap. Love recalls hearing sirens approach as officers from the 021st District came to his rescue. Using Love’s descriptions of the offenders, his fellow officers were able to apprehend and place into custody two of the three offenders that same night. A third offender was apprehended a day or so later. James Love recovered and returned to active duty within nine months of the incident. He later became a part of a Federal team where he infiltrated and testified in court against the leadership of […]
On June 6, 2014, P.O. Michael Wrobel went to assist P.O. Javier Alonso, who had curbed a vehicle in the 9300 block of South Wallace Street in Washington Heights. As the officers approached the vehicle, a male passenger opened fire, striking Officer Wrobel in the chest and Officer Alonso in the right thigh. Protected by his bulletproof vest, the shot knocked Wrobel backwards as two more rounds passed by his head. The officers were able to return fire, striking the offender numerous times, neutralizing the threat. Officer Wrobel pulled Officer Alonso into his patrol car and rushed him to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. P.O. Michael Wrobelsuffered bruising from the impact of the bullet, but was able to return to work three days after the incident. He is a 6-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the Gang Enforcement Division. P.O. Javier Alonso was released from the hospital in good condition and has undergone a recent surgery related to his injury. He is currently doing physical therapy and hopes to return to full-duty very soon. Officer Alonso is a 12-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the Gang Enforcement Division. He is married as has two children. STORIES BEHIND THE VEST VIDEO
On September 12, 2014, Officer La-Toya P. Williams, a 14-year veteran with the Chicago Police Department, was monitoring the radio when the dispatcher asked, “does anyone on the zone know how to perform CPR on a newborn baby until paramedics arrive?” Officer Williams, who was recently certified by the American Red Cross in May 2014, responded to the scene which was located at 31st/Lituanica. Officer Williams was met by the great-grandmother who was carrying the 2-day old baby boy. The officer took the breathless and blue in color baby into her arms and she felt as if she was holding a baby doll. Officer Williams felt for a pulse with negative results, placed the baby on the couch and started performing continuous chest compressions for several minutes. Thankfully, the newborn began to show signs of life and his color began to return. The baby was revived by the time paramedics arrived. Upon their arrival, paramedics took over the situation by checking the baby’s pulse rate and providing him with a small amount of oxygen. The baby was transported to Mercy Hospital where the doctor stated he was in stabilized condition. Officer Williams was emotional during and after the situation, but was relieved when she realized that she had saved a baby. She calls Dale “her miracle baby” and is glad that she was able to stay calm and provide the baby with a second life.
September 2014 Officer of the Month – P.O. John Pigott On 4 November 2012, Chicago police officer John Pigott and his partner Brian Luce were working Violence Reduction Initiative in a high crime area of the city’s west side. While on patrol they were approached by an Illinois state trooper who asked for assistance. The Trooper was searching for an offender who had stolen a vehicle, violated an order of protection and abducted his one-year-old child. Officer Pigott and his partner observed the subject sitting in the wanted vehicle in the restaurant parking lot and approached with caution being made aware that the subject was recently released from Illinois Penitentiary. As Officer Pigott approached the vehicle, the subject became agitated and accelerated towards him. Officer Pigott drew his service weapon and was then struck by the vehicle throwing him onto the hood of the car. Officer Pigott held on as the offender raced and swerved the vehicle, attempting to throw him from the car. Officer Pigott fired his weapon striking the offender twice. The offender crashed into a concrete pillar. Officer Pigott was thrown to the pavement, which caused serious injuries and several broken bones. The abducted child was recovered uninjured and the offender was taken into custody, treated for his injuries and charged accordingly. Police Officer John Pigott has undergone three surgeries to date and is awaiting a fourth for injuries that occurred during the incident. Officer Pigott served his country for four years in the United States Navy aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower during Desert Storm and Desert Shield. He joined the Chicago Police Department on 04 November 1996. During his career, he worked in the 10th district, 9th district, Government Security Unit, and the Public Transportation Section. John is happily married to Dawn, his wife of 18 years and the proud father of four children, John Jr. (12) Hannah (12) Molly (10) and Michael (6).
August 2014 Officer of the Month – Detective Richard W. Waszkiewisz “Richard Walter Waszkiewicz was born in Chicago on 20 Aug 1932. He served the U S Army in Korea. In September 1956 he married Barbara Grzonkowski. 10 months later his first child was born, Patricia Ann. He became a father for the second time in February 1959 when David Joseph was born. In 1962 he became the bearer of Star #7650 for the Chicago Police Department, but it was in 1967 that he made the newspapers. On 9 Jun 1967 he was shot in the back of the left shoulder with a stolen .22 caliber rifle. I remember Mom taking Dave and me to the hospital to see Dad, but we couldn’t go to his room because we were too young. We could wave to him in his hospital room window. After he returned home his doctor recommended that he expose his surgery incisions to the sun to speed healing. I remember thinking that they looked “gross.” In August 1967 all of us went to police headquarters for a press conference. I remember a reporter asking where my brother and I went to school. Then the superintendent pinned the first Blue Star on dad’s suit. Dad joked with him that the suit would need reweaving. The superintendent told Dad to send him the bill. “Thankfully Dad went back to work and was able to retire in 1984 with 22 years on the job. He and Mom moved to Florida where he enjoyed 10 years (and four grandchildren). Mom said when Dad retired he asked the Lord for 10 good years and when he died they were in renegotiation. Dad died on 26 May 1996 from complications of strokes. One of his pallbearers was his partner from the day of the shooting, Richard Jablonski.”