Residents honored for heroic actions by advisory committee
by BRIAN NADIG
The 16th (Jefferson Park) Police District Advisory Committee at its Feb. 15 meeting honored two residents for their heroic actions, and it was announced that the district is being assigned 10 new officers.
Retired police officer Gregory Dial was recognized for saving the life of a 71-year-old man who had collapsed due to a heart attack while using a snow blower on Feb. 4 in the 5700 block for North Manton Avenue. The man was taken to the hospital and is recovering.
"Dial immediately exited his vehicle, called 911 and then performed CPR until the ambulance arrived, thus saving (the man’s) life," the commendation states.
Dial, a former neighborhood relations officer in the 16th District, taught the Drug Abuse Resistance Education Program at several schools.
The committee also recognized David Torres for apprehending a suspect who reportedly had attempted on Jan. 2 to enter his Portage Park area home.
"You observed a male subject enter the rear yard and proceed to open the storm door of your home. Believing this to be a crime in progress, you pursued, subdued and detained the subject until police arrived.
"It is because of your keen observation and bravery in confronting a criminal that it was later discovered that the offender was involved in another burglary nearby while using a stolen vehicle. We would like to commend you for your selfless actions and community involvement which thwarted a burglary and helped get a career criminal off the streets," the commendation states.
Meanwhile, it was reported that the district is being assigned 10 new officers in March. Currently the district has 215 officers.
District commander William Looney thanked residents and aldermen for promoting the need for more officers. In the early 2000s, the district had about 270 officers, and the decline in officers in recent years has made it difficult at times to deploy all of the district’s beat or rapid response squad cars.
Northwest Side Unite recently organized a petition drive calling for more officers.
It also was reported that in the past four weeks 18 robberies were reported in the district compared to 12 last year during the same period, 63 burglaries compared to 57 and 42 motor vehicle thefts compared to 38.
The district recently set up a book exchange in the station’s lobby, 5151 N. Milwaukee Ave., in which visitors are encourage to take a book and leave one. It includes books for children and adults and informational pamphlets on safety issues, including teenage drinking.
Also at the meeting, the committee presented the "Officer of the Month" award to officers Nicholas Redelsperger, and Eric Bellomy and lieutenant Michael Stevens for their Dec. 14 arrest of a suspect in the robbery of Bank of America, 6665 N. Northwest Hwy.
A teller had placed a tracking device with the money, and the device led police to the general vicinity of the suspect’s car, Looney said.
"We don’t know what type of vehicle, (and) they did a good job figuring out which car," Looney said. "We know it’s moving, but so are a lot of other cars, and it’s rush hour."
The suspect eventually crashed his vehicle along the North Branch of the Chicago River near Howard Street, and he was apprehended after he made an unsuccessful attempt to wade through the river.
Another "Officer of the Month" Award was presented to
officer Ricardo Gonzalez for his Dec. 15 arrest of a suspect in an armed robbery in the Jefferson Park area. The suspect was arrested after the officer noticed a man fitting a description of the reported assailant.