February 20, 2008

Daley, Police Department Honor Memory of Five Chicago Police Officers

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Richard M. Daley and police officials today added five stars to the Police Superintendent's Honored Star Case, reserved for Chicago police officers who died in the performance of their duty.

"This truly is a wall of heroes. And I want the families, friends and colleagues of these brave men to know that the people of Chicago share your loss.

"Whenever a police officer dies in the line of duty, we all share the pain. We know that these officers put their lives on the line every day of the year, so the rest of us can go about our own lives in safety," Daley said at ceremonies held at police headquarters, 3510 South State St.

The five officers honored today died between 1946 and 1978.

"But it's never too late to honor members of the Chicago Police Department who lost their lives in the service of their fellow human beings. Police work is a demanding and dangerous job, and it can end suddenly, as it did for the five men whose memory and service we honor today," Daley said.

"On behalf of all the residents Chicago, I want to express my deep gratitude and respect for the five officers we remember today. By retiring their stars, we keep their memory alive, we inspire future generations and we ensure that these brave officers will have an honored and lasting place in the proud history of the Chicago Police Department," the Mayor said.

The officers honored during today's ceremony were:
Detective Roderick D. MacLeay, Star #6519, died December 29, 1946
Detective Erwin C. Rach, died December 29, 1946
During a snowstorm, Detectives MacLeay and Rach were transporting a prisoner to the Detective Bureau for processing when a drunk driver struck their police vehicle. The offender's automobile collided head-on with the squad car after it skidded on the icy pavement and onto the wrong side of the road. Both detectives were killed instantly.

Patrolman Thomas J. Carroll, Star #1617, died March 20, 1949
Patrolman Carroll suffered a fatal heart attack shortly after transporting a resident to Cook County Hospital. After Carroll and his partner moved the elderly patient on a stretcher from the citizen's basement apartment to the wagon and then up the hospital stairs, Carroll felt severe chest pains, collapsed, and died.

Patrolman Samuel G. Lynch, Star #10016, died November 13, 1969
Patrolman Lynch was found lying in the intersection of Polk and Clark Streets. The officer had suffered several injuries, including a skull fracture. Discovered beside the officer was Lynch's overturned three-wheel police motorcycle. The officer was rushed to a nearby hospital, but died shortly thereafter of his injuries. Police investigators suspected that Lynch was the victim of a hit-and-run, but the offender was never apprehended.

Patrol Officer James P. "Pat" Sweeney, Star #4897, died 28 October 1978
On May 13, 1968, Officer Sweeney was on patrol on South Lake Shore Drive when the rear wheel of his three-wheel police motorcycle fell off. The officer was thrown to the pavement and suffered multiple injuries, including a skull fracture and a ruptured spleen. Sweeney remained in intensive care for several weeks and was released from the hospital five months later. Because of the head trauma, the officer developed epilepsy and, after being disabled for years, died as a result of the injuries he sustained in the performance of duty.

The stars were eligible for retirement under guidelines established in 2005 by retired Police Superintendent Philip J. Cline. The new criteria, the same as those used by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, defines line of duty death as "the death of an active duty officer by criminal or accidental means during the course of performing police functions while on or off duty."