Following Lefkow murders, Oak Park cops keeping 24-hour watch on local residents

? At least three Oak Park residences under protective surveillance in wake of Lefkow killings.

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By BILL DWYER

The execution-style murders of the husband and mother of a Federal judge Feb. 28, which have made headlines across the country and around the world, has apparently impacted several Oak Park families as well. Oak Park police were observed  providing protective surveillance for at least three residences in the village. Since last Tuesday squad cars featuring a variety of unit numbers have been observed outside homes in the northeast, north central and south central sections of the village. WEDNESDAY JOURNAL has been unable to determine the identities of those individuals or their connection, if any, to the Lefkow case, but one of those residences was confirmed to be the home of a federal prosecutor. Oak Park police declined to comment on the matter.

The squads, both occupied and unoccupied, have been parked in front of a number of different houses on each block being covered throughout the past week. That presence continued over the weekend. Squad cars remained in front of two of the homes Monday morning, while a private body guard sat outside the third home.

While any connection to the recent case of Federal Judge Joan Lefkow is still uncertain, the police presence outside the homes began the day after the Feb. 28 killings on Chicago's north side.

Local law enforcement officials declined to offer any specifics. Oak Park Deputy Police Chief Robert Scianna said simply, "No comment," River Forest police were similarly tight lipped about any current security operations Friday.

"I cannot comment on that. We don't give out info on that," said River  Forest Deputy Chief Kendra Sullivan.

Oak Park village spokesperson Dave Powers said Tuesday that he couldn't discuss any specifics regarding possible police operations, but did say that the village always welcomes appropriate outside assistance.

"We always look to see what resources are available," said Powers, "both financial as well as any special expertise that may help us."

In any case, Powers added, Oak Park citizens in need of police protection for whatever reason will be given priority.

"If there are Oak Park residents involved, that's certainly one of our responsibilities."

In the wake of the Lefkow killings, several senior government officials have called for greater attention to judge's security needs. Marvin Aspen, a senior Northern District Judge, has called for an examination of how threats are assessed and how judges and their families are protected outside the courtroom. And fellow Northern District Federal Judge Wayne Andersen, who said he believes the Internet is a readily accessible source of useful information that could be used to harm judges, told The Associated Press last Wednesday that the Lefkow killings should lead to "a substantial increase of security," for federal judges. Andersen said the U.S. attorney general and the secretary of homeland security should take the lead in that effort.
CONTACT: bdwyer@wjinc.com

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