This morning, at the Chicago Patrolmen’s Federal Credit Union, the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation honors Chicago Police Officer Steven Ommundson for saving the lives of 3 Chicago citizens.
On 06 July 2018 at approximately 7:45 pm, Chicago Police Officers Steven Ommundson, Matthew McKenna, Elizabeth Wilson, and Lesley Watkins responded to a Marine Distress call at Loyola Park Beach at 1230 W. Greenleaf. When they arrived, three teenagers told them that they were swimming in the lake and the rip current pulled two of their other friends away from the shore. The officers spotted one of the victims struggling in the water, and Officer Steven Ommundson removed his uniform and gun belt and charged into the water without regard for his own safety.
Officer Wilson also ran into the water to save the victims while their partners, Officers McKenna and Watkins maintained radio contact and summoned additional help from the Marine Unit and Chicago Fire Department. Officer Ommundson, a former Chicago Park District lifeguard swam through the intense eight-foot waves and reached one of the victims, pulling her onto shore and delivering her to paramedics who treated her and eventually transported the 13-year-old girl to St. Francis Hospital where she was listed in fair condition. Officer Ommundson selflessly re-entered the water to search for the second victim and saw that Officer Wilson and another citizen were now trapped on the break wall being pummeled by the waves and in danger of being swept into the lake. Officer Ommundson swam through the water and reached Officer Wilson, preventing her from being swept away by the current. He then helped Officer Wilson to move along the jetty, closer towards the shore, where Fire Personnel entered the water and helped remove Officer Wilson from the lake.
Officer Ommundson re-entered the water for a third time, swimming through the waves and eventually reaching a male citizen who had also attempted to rescue the teenage girls but was now stranded and clinging to the jetty and in fact now naked, as the waves had torn off his clothes. At this point, the CFD responders tossed a life ring to Officer Ommundson, who passed it to the male citizen. With the citizen in tow, Officer Ommundson made his way to the shore, where the exhausted citizen was treated by paramedics. The other teenage victim was spotted floating in the water unresponsive by CPD Marine Officers sometime later that evening. The girl was pulled from the water and taken to St Francis but she succumbed and was pronounced at the hospital.
Officer Ommundson is an example of a Chicago Police Officer who started a life of public service early as a lifeguard and moved into police work. Officer Ommundson was in the first class of Chicago Police Cadets when the program was brought back in 2005. The Cadet program allows young people to work and learn about the police department while in college. Executive Director and retired Superintendent Phil Cline was a Cadet in 1968 and he restarted the Cadet program in 2005. The Cadet program has lapsed but Superintendent Eddie Johnson has brought it back as a way to mentor young folks into a career on the CPD.
Officer Ommundson service continues today as he keeps the streets safe in Chicago’s Rogers Park. In a heartbeat, this Officer stripped down to his underwear and swam into danger to save a citizen. We are grateful that the CPD has many Officers like Steven Ommundson who act to save lives without giving it a second thought. Tragically, Lake Michigan took one young girl that evening, but we might have lost three others if not for the actions of Officer Ommundson. We commend him for his bravery, and proudly make him our September Officer of the Month presented by Galls.