Today, the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation honors Retired Chicago Police Officer Robert Olson who served the city for 39 years and 11 months. Officer Olson utilized his training and experience when confronted by an armed assailant who wanted his car. The carjacker, a repeat felon, was out on the street on early release from prison, having been previously convicted of a robbery and gun charge.
The carjacking occurred on April 25, 2018, a Wednesday evening when Robert had planned to join some friends at a local Bridgeport establishment for dinner. As he got close to the restaurant he looked for a place to park his car and found one near 29th and Shields.
Although Robert had been retired for over 6 years, his instincts and observational skills are still sharp. Robert noticed three young guys milling around the corner and pondered what they were planning. As Robert parked, he observed the three guys were gone and assumed they just went on their way. What Robert didn’t know is that this crew had crouched down behind a car, hiding so they could surprise Robert and catch him off guard. Robert got out of his car quickly slamming the door and was confronted by the felon who pointed the gun directly at him while running toward him, shouting “I’ll kill you, give me the car.”
Robert Olson retired honorably after nearly 40 years but the police tradition of service continues. Robert’s son, also named Robert Olsen is presently on the CPD working in the Detective division. Robert’s grandson is also named Robert Olson, but he chose another path, going to law school at the University of Illinois. What is interesting is that earlier this year, he also was a victim of carjacking. The young man was in Hyde Park when he was carjacked. The suspect pointed a gun, demanded the car and luckily, the youngest Robert Olsen was not hurt, but he did lose the car. After this robbery, Robert was concerned as these carjackings seemed to continue to increase citywide.
Robert Olsen continues to carry a gun to protect his family and his life as most retired police officers do. On that evening when his life was threatened by the carjacker, he acted instinctively as police do. Robert shot the suspect once without hesitation and the felon fell to the ground. As the felon lay on the street, his accomplice asked Robert not to shoot him saying “Don’t shoot me, I don’t have a gun,” which implies he knew exactly what they were doing – working together as a crew out carjacking innocent people. Robert ordered the accomplice to the ground and called 911 while the third suspect took off running. The police arrived; the shot felon was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. The police recovered the felon’s gun and arrested the accomplice. The third suspect was eventually arrested, but the States Attorney’s office chose not to charge either accomplice and both were released. Robert was told that the accomplices were not armed so they wouldn’t be charged.
“Over the last few months, we have honored a few Officers who have stopped carjackings from occurring. We are thankful for the police, both active and retired, that are constantly surveying their surroundings to ensure the safety of themselves and others,” said Phil Cline, Executive Director of the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation.
The felon in this case is suspected of other robberies after his early release, and the police believe he committed an earlier carjacking at about 8:00am on that fateful morning that he tried to rob Robert Olson.
This morning we are happy to present this award to Robert Olson. Without his training and life experiences as a law enforcement officer, it could have gone the other way, and we would be mourning his loss. Please join us in honoring retired Officer Robert Olson, as our June Officer of the Month presented by Galls.
ABOUT THE CHICAGO POLICE MEMORIAL FOUNDATION
The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation is a not-for- profit organization dedicated to honoring the lives of our fallen heroes. The Foundation provides support and assistance to the families of Chicago Police Officers who were killed or catastrophically injured in the line of duty.
Established in 2004, the Foundation strengthens the relationship between the Chicago Police, its business and civic leaders, and its citizenry. It allows us to express our gratitude to the fallen Officers' families for the ultimate sacrifice of their loved one. To date, the Foundation has donated more than $9.5 million to family members of Chicago Police officers in need of assistance.
For more information about the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation and its mission, please visit our website at www.cpdmemorial.org