Police in Oak Park and River Forest are responding to the execution style murders of four police officers in Washington State over the weekend.
Four veteran Lakewood, WA police officers were ambushed and gunned down as they did paperwork on their laptops in a coffee shop Sunday morning. The suspect in the killings, an ex-convict with a long and violent criminal history, was himself shot dead by police during a traffic stop early Tuesday morning.
While they won’t be sending representatives to the officer’s funerals, both the River Forest and Oak Park departments have expressed sorrow and solidarity with their West Coast colleagues, and general awareness of the need to exercise caution in their daily work lives.
“It’s not that it’s not a worthy reason, we just can’t afford to,” said River Forest Deputy Chief Greg Weiss. “I wish we could, in all honesty.”
“We do this job for reasons other than a pay check,” Weiss said. “When these things happen, it affects everybody. The loss of brethren in a different state is just as traumatic as it is here.”
Oak Park Chief Rick Tanksley expressed similar thoughts Tuesday, saying, “Something like this doesn’t affect just our department.” He said he was in the process of preparing a memo to be read at all roll calls, calling for a moment of silence for the slain officers. He asked that the public take a moment to do the same.
Both Weiss and Tanksley said the events in Washington State are sobering reminders of the need for officers on the street to balance accessibility to the public with appropriate caution.
“We’re going to talk with our officers and make sure they’re careful to not get caught off guard,” said Weiss.”
“This is a reminder to all officers of the dangerous work we do, and to be aware of their surroundings,” said Tanksley.