Sgt. John Zitek joined the Chicago Police Department and was sworn in under the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Act in June of 1956. He was assigned to the CPD Training Academy in February of 1958 and was promoted to detective in December of that year.
On Saturday, February 7, 1959, while off-duty, Detective Zitek was approached by two bandits as he entered the subway station at State and Washington Streets. Zitek identified himself as a police officer as he fought off the two knife-wielding attackers who repeatedly slashed his hands and forehead. One of the offenders said to “cut his eye out” as Det. Zitek struggled with the pair. Although his vision was limited due to the blood in his eyes, Det. Zitek was able to raise his gun and fire one shot at the offenders. The assailants ultimately overpowered Det. Zitek and stole his revolver, dropping a knife as they fled. Zitek suffered cuts on his hand, forehead and cheek.
One week after the incident, the offenders were arrested by their victim and detectives of the robbery and narcotics detail.
John Zitek was promoted to sergeant in June of 1966 and retired from the CPD in May of 1989. He also served as the Chief of Police for the Village of Stickney. He held that position for fifteen years before retiring in 2007. With more than 50 years experience in law enforcement, Zitek was appointed to the Office of Public Safely for Stickney Township in 2008 and currently holds that position.