The Chicago Way: Police Work in the Urban Landscape
Imagination Meets Reality: Officer Brian Spreng
The first days out of the police academy will challenge any young officer. Two weeks after his own graduation, Brian Spreng encountered gunshots, the round table, and the realities of life in one of Chicago’s most diverse and heated police districts.
Frontlines: Officer Dave Kumiega
It’s 3:00 a.m. and Dave Kumiega sits in front of a computer, reading a file on “Sweet Pea,” eating a burrito from a joint on Fullerton Avenue, and wishing he were a dentist. That’s one part of life chasing down some of Chicago’s most notorious street gangs.
Shots Fired: Detective Miguel Rios
Miguel Rios had just relayed the events that had him pulling a fallen officer away from the line of fire. Moments later, he glares at his kitchen counter, revisiting another day that demanded he fire his gun and kill a battling suspect.
Stepping Stones: Officer C.K. Rojas
After stints in the U.S. Marine Corps, assignment to war-ravaged Kosovo, and life as a police officer in rural North Carolina, C.K. Rojas, a Mexican immigrant, discovered his purpose with a Chicago Police star over his heart.
Leaving the Job Behind: Former Officer Art Hannus
Rather than wait for the Chicago Police Department to alter its system, lifetime Chicagoan Art Hannus adopted his own, leaving behind the department and his beloved job to record new chapters in his life’s history.
Travels: The Journey of the Chicago Police
Evolution: Retired Officer John O’Shea
John O’Shea was there in ’68 and witnessed it all firsthand. Years later, he met Miracle Moon, whose face he can never erase. Still, he says, “Chicago’s always been a pencil town”—la city of second chances, the handshake, and street smarts.
Walkin’ Pete: Retired Sergeant Bill Jaconetti
“Walkin’ Pete” had a bullet run through his jacket and a street named for him, yet what mattered most was the honor of being needed by a community for over three decades. For thirty years, Bill Jaconetti walked the beat in Wicker Park, emerging as a department legend and reflective retiree.
Different Worlds: Former Deputy Superintendent Joe DeLopez
Though at one time Jo DeLopez considered spending life at the helm of the Chicago Police Department, today his suburban constituency represents a radical departure from life in the big city.
Uncle Willie: Retired Officer William Calabrese
Uncle Willie has aged a bit. Yet, for all that the passage of years has done to Willie Calabrese’s body, Willie’s spirit remains unbroken five decades after his first day on the job.
Who Are We? Organization and Culture of the Chicago Police Department
All I Ever Wanted to Be: Retired Lieutenant Cindy Pontoriero
She smiled at a three-decades-old picture. She never wanted to be anything other than a detective; even when she was a lieutenant, Cindy Pontoriero only wanted to be back in that picture, remembering police life with a beginning, middle, and end.
Inviting Crime: Officer Rick King
By the summer of 1977, Rick King had moved from cadet to patrol officer, something he never thought he’d be. Within a few years, King would be something else he never envisioned: a priest catching some of Chicago’s shiftiest criminals.
The Mayor of O’Hare: Retired Officer George Salituro
“Sal,” as he’s best known, takes turns around O’Hare Airport, and each movement, whether with the feet or the turn of a wheel, feels routine. He inhales a cigarette, nods at passersby, and talks about a life of softball, friendship, and crashing airplanes.
Send in the Dogs: Officer Bob Rawa
Bob Rawa lives a life with the dogs these days, but he’s not saying coppers should lie down and be one. At 39, Rawa’s the youngest member of the CPD’s Canine unit.
Sharing the Job: Detective John Folino Jr.
The Blue Line reaches from cities to towns, officers urged to extend a degree of professional courtesy from one to the next. But when John Folino turned the corner and happened upon an armed robbery in progress, with the suspects claiming to be cops, his world turned upside down. In a later conversation with his father, Folino found the perspective he needed.
Police Work, the Person, the Life, and the Spirit
Separate Worlds: Sergeant Beth Russell
Each morning, Beth Russell leaves her shoes at the door, washes her hands, and then greets a pair of growing daughters. For the next sixteen hours at least, she’ll be a mother first, an officer second.
Twelve Steps to a Better Cop: Detective Jim Rohrlack
He told the man to drop the knife and when he didn’t, Jim Rohrlack fired. In subsequent years, a turbulent tailspin sent Rohrlack to the bottle, twelve steps, and a second chance at life. In then end, Rohrlack claims, he emerged a better cop.
A Black and White Issue: Sergeant Joe Barnes Jr.
Joe Barnes Jr. calls it as he sees it—a ball’s a ball and a strike’s a strike. And the world, he says, claims a universal strike zone, one that transcends creed, class, and race and drives him to take the negative off Chicago’s streets.
Faith: Detective Mike Cummins
Once a high school religion teacher, Mike Cummins left the world of academia and religious tenets to join the Chicago Police. His eyes now opened after a dozen years on the job, Mike Cummins cannot look away.
Meaningful Work: Father Tom Nangle, CPD Chaplain
Nearly each day, Father Tom Nangle reports, he has an officer pull him aside and tell him, “You might not believe it, Father, but I pray every day.” But Nangle, the CPD’s Chaplain for over two decades, sees no reason to question the spirit and soul of Chicago’s officers.
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