In happier times, CPD Officer Patricia “Patsy” Swank and her young son, Scottie. --Supplied photo

In happier times, CPD Officer Patricia “Patsy” Swank and her young son, Scottie. --Supplied photo

It doesn’t have to be this way

Spread the love

By Joan Hadac

Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge

(708) 496-0265 • joan.hadac@gmail.com

Today I begin on a note of profound sadness.

One of our own, a Garfield Ridge police officer, took her own life recently.

I normally don’t name suicide victims, but CPD Officer Patricia “Patsy” Swank left a young son behind, and her family and friends have gone public with a fundraiser. If you’d like to contribute, please visit gofundme.com/f/Patsy-Patricia-Swank.

News of the tragedy began to spread quickly, quietly and in hushed tones on Saturday morning, July 2—coincidentally among many at the Garfield Ridge Stars & Stripes 5K, founded and led by a Chicago Police officer and held this year in honor of CPD Commander Paul Bauer, who lost his life in the line of duty back in 2018.

CRRNH PatsySwankJoanCol 071322 1

In happier times, CPD Officer Patricia “Patsy” Swank and her young son, Scottie. –Supplied photo

The suicide of a police officer hits especially hard in Garfield Ridge and Clearing, but not just because our neighborhoods are home to so many law enforcement officers. It’s because the large majority of us—despite not being police officers and never having worn the uniform—have an appreciation of our men and women in blue.

We get it, at least to the extent we can.

We are aware of the grinding, non-stop stress police officers live under, especially under a mayor who has spent three years demonizing them.

That’s why when you drive up and down many blocks in Garfield Ridge and Clearing, you’ll see “Back the Blue” lawn signs, “Our Police Are Gr8” window cards and blue lights shining from porches.

That’s why you’ll see good-hearted people like Tracie Ellis and Jennifer New hosting—largely at their own expense—what some call Blue BBQs: barbecues held in Tracie’s backyard, where she, Jennifer and several others feed on-duty officers, all at no charge.

That’s why you’ll see police officers routinely applauded and sometimes even given standing ovations at Garfield Ridge Neighborhood Watch meetings—something you certainly won’t see in just about any other neighborhood in the city.

That’s why our elected officials, including and perhaps especially 23rd Ward Ald. Silvana Tabares, do all they can to back the blue, both in word and deed.

The week before the Garfield Ridge police officer—our police officer—ended her own life, Tabares went public with a demand that the Lightfoot Administration stop canceling officers’ regular days off for non-emergency events.

The headline of the story about it was simple: Days off are days off, Tabares says. The alderman’s reasoning was equally simple: people in high-stress jobs, like police officers, must have time away from the daily grind. Time to decompress, to exhale, to be with their families.

joanhadac 1

Joan Hadac

Tabares’ concerns were met with silent indifference by our mayor and her City Council allies. Here on the Southwest Side, there were even a few who took to social media to criticize her stance—shills that they are for other politicians. I wonder where those several people are today, and I wonder what, if anything, they’ve ever done to support our police.

Being a police officer, especially in a big city, will always be a stressful job. Therefore, sadly, there will always be officers who snap under the pressure, who mistakenly but understandably see no way out other than to take their own lives.

But this current climate, where police officers who remain on the job are increasingly troubled by the ongoing exodus (via retirement and resignation) of their brothers and sisters in blue? This current climate, in which the CPD suicide rate is perhaps double the national average for law enforcement in general?

It doesn’t have to be this way.

I’ve heard it said that police officers confront danger so the rest of us don’t have to. If that’s true—and it most certainly is—then the least the rest of us can do is take a good, long look in the mirror and ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to support our police each and every day.

And supporting our police means demanding that others do the same, especially our elected officials. We need to look them in the eyes and tell them, in the clearest terms possible, that if they don’t give police their full support, we’ll head to the polls en masse and fire them, come election time.

That’s all I have today. See you next week.

Local News

Steve Palmer, chairman of the Brew Moon Festival; Susanna Decker of Community Support Services; and McCook Mayor Terrance Carr pose with the oversized check donated from the festival. (Photos by Steve Metsch) 

Brew Moon raises $33,000 for two charitable organizations

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Steve Metsch Two local charitable organizations will benefit from the 12th annual Brew Moon Beer & Band Festival held in October at the MAX in McCook. The Kelli Joy O’Laughlin Memorial Foundation, based in Indian Head Park, and Community Support Services, based in Brookfield, each received $16,500. Checks were presented to representatives…

Mario DePasquale

Ex-McCook police chief sentenced to 27 months in extortion plot

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Bob Bong Mario DePasquale, the former police chief of McCook, was sentenced last week to more than two years in federal prison after pleading guilty last year to conspiring with the village’s former mayor to extort two businessmen out of tens of thousands of dollars. DePasquale, 50, was sentenced February 21 to…

stealing Mail

Palos Heights police bust mail theft ring

Spread the love

Spread the love3 arrested for allegedly stealing mail in Palos Heights, Palos Park By Jeff Vorva The good news is that lost mail involving residents of Palos Park and Palos Heights has been found. The bad news is that it may be a while before they get that mail back. Three people were arrested for…

Shepard High School junior, Anastasia Kladis, has raised nearly $2,000 for Special Olympics Illinois and hopes to keep the amount growing before she takes the plunge at Shepard High School on March 7. (Supplied photos)

Shepard student to take the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Kelly White One Shepard High School student has been excelling in raising funds for this year’s Polar Plunge. Anastasia Kladis, a junior from Palos Heights, has raised nearly $2,000 for Special Olympics Illinois and hopes to keep the amount growing before she takes the plunge at school on March 7. “I have…

Evergreen Park senior Nolan Sexton drives past a Thornton defender during the Wildcats' 77-47 win over the Mustangs in the Class 3A Thornton Sectional on Feb. 27. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Boys Basketball Class 3A Sectionals | Evergreen Park’s historic ends with loss to Thornton

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent The 2023-2024 Evergreen Park boys basketball team had one of the greatest seasons in program history. Unfortunately for the Mustangs, that season has come to an end with a 77-47 loss to Thornton in the semifinals of the Class 3A Thornton Sectional on Feb. 27. Evergreen Park was coming…

CRR_NH

Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound February 28, 2024

Spread the love

Spread the love

Mary Stanek

Looks like March may go out like a lion

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place •  (773) 517-7796. . March comes in like a lamb – it goes out like a lion! A sneak peek at the weather forecast for the next 10 days does show some mild days. So, we welcome…

Kathy Headley

Weather cooperated for Marine’s return

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 . After the surprising snow coming down like a blizzard for a while last Friday night, I was especially glad to see the sun Saturday morning, for Patrick Downs (St. Rita High School class of…

Peggy Zabicki

Slam the brakes on reckless drivers

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place •  (773) 504-9327 . The most popular topic of conversation in our neighborhood lately is the problem of speeding drivers. There are car accidents every single day due to drivers who break the law. I hope the city will add even more…

Hon. Koula Fornier

Fournier resigns from TTO to become judge

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom staff reports The Lyons Township Trustees of Schools is accepting applications for a vacancy on their board, after Trustee Koula A. Fournier resigned earlier this month after being sworn-in as a Judge of the Cook County Circuit Court. Fournier was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to fill the Maloney vacancy of…

Neighbors

Steve Palmer, chairman of the Brew Moon Festival; Susanna Decker of Community Support Services; and McCook Mayor Terrance Carr pose with the oversized check donated from the festival. (Photos by Steve Metsch) 

Brew Moon raises $33,000 for two charitable organizations

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Steve Metsch Two local charitable organizations will benefit from the 12th annual Brew Moon Beer & Band Festival held in October at the MAX in McCook. The Kelli Joy O’Laughlin Memorial Foundation, based in Indian Head Park, and Community Support Services, based in Brookfield, each received $16,500. Checks were presented to representatives…

Mario DePasquale

Ex-McCook police chief sentenced to 27 months in extortion plot

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Bob Bong Mario DePasquale, the former police chief of McCook, was sentenced last week to more than two years in federal prison after pleading guilty last year to conspiring with the village’s former mayor to extort two businessmen out of tens of thousands of dollars. DePasquale, 50, was sentenced February 21 to…

stealing Mail

Palos Heights police bust mail theft ring

Spread the love

Spread the love3 arrested for allegedly stealing mail in Palos Heights, Palos Park By Jeff Vorva The good news is that lost mail involving residents of Palos Park and Palos Heights has been found. The bad news is that it may be a while before they get that mail back. Three people were arrested for…

Shepard High School junior, Anastasia Kladis, has raised nearly $2,000 for Special Olympics Illinois and hopes to keep the amount growing before she takes the plunge at Shepard High School on March 7. (Supplied photos)

Shepard student to take the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Kelly White One Shepard High School student has been excelling in raising funds for this year’s Polar Plunge. Anastasia Kladis, a junior from Palos Heights, has raised nearly $2,000 for Special Olympics Illinois and hopes to keep the amount growing before she takes the plunge at school on March 7. “I have…

Evergreen Park senior Nolan Sexton drives past a Thornton defender during the Wildcats' 77-47 win over the Mustangs in the Class 3A Thornton Sectional on Feb. 27. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Boys Basketball Class 3A Sectionals | Evergreen Park’s historic ends with loss to Thornton

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent The 2023-2024 Evergreen Park boys basketball team had one of the greatest seasons in program history. Unfortunately for the Mustangs, that season has come to an end with a 77-47 loss to Thornton in the semifinals of the Class 3A Thornton Sectional on Feb. 27. Evergreen Park was coming…

CRR_NH

Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound February 28, 2024

Spread the love

Spread the love

Mary Stanek

Looks like March may go out like a lion

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place •  (773) 517-7796. . March comes in like a lamb – it goes out like a lion! A sneak peek at the weather forecast for the next 10 days does show some mild days. So, we welcome…

Kathy Headley

Weather cooperated for Marine’s return

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 . After the surprising snow coming down like a blizzard for a while last Friday night, I was especially glad to see the sun Saturday morning, for Patrick Downs (St. Rita High School class of…

Peggy Zabicki

Slam the brakes on reckless drivers

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place •  (773) 504-9327 . The most popular topic of conversation in our neighborhood lately is the problem of speeding drivers. There are car accidents every single day due to drivers who break the law. I hope the city will add even more…

Hon. Koula Fornier

Fournier resigns from TTO to become judge

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom staff reports The Lyons Township Trustees of Schools is accepting applications for a vacancy on their board, after Trustee Koula A. Fournier resigned earlier this month after being sworn-in as a Judge of the Cook County Circuit Court. Fournier was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to fill the Maloney vacancy of…