It usually takes rookie cops months to get their feet wet, so speak. But last week Oak Park’s nine newest officers found themselves hitting the pavement their first three days on the job passing out Community Alert fliers related to the murder of Peter D’Agostino. That is, when they weren’t busy running down alleged criminals.
The morning of Tuesday, June 28, as the nine rookies were being driven in the 700 block of South Boulevard to continue their flier distribution, a report came over the radio of two men who had pushed an elderly Oak Park woman to the ground and took her purse. An adult suspect in the robbery, Benjamin Wilson, 19, of Chicago, was captured soon after. However, his alleged accomplice reportedly fled the scene. The fleet footed juvenile might have gotten away, except for some?#34;for him?#34;incredibly bad luck.
He ran right past the van carrying the novice cops.
“The Sergeant barked out, ‘That’s him!’ and slammed on the brakes,” said Oak Park Deputy Chief Robert Scianna. With that, every door on the police van flew open, and nine very young, very eager, and very fit cops took off after the suspect.
“I wish I could have seen the look in that guy’s eyes,” said Scianna Friday with a chuckle.
Scianna said the rookies chased the young man into a parking lot west of Oak Park Avenue, where one of the officers spotted him hiding under a parked car. Another rookie ran over and cuffed him to cap what’s likely to go down as one of the quickest arrests in any Oak Park officer’s career.
Both Wilson and the youth, who was identified only as a Chicago juvenile, were charged with robbery after being positively identified by their alleged victim. Wilson was also charged with possession of a controlled substance, according to police.
Scianna was particularly happy for a group of young officers he called “just good, hard working people we can all be proud of.”