Palatine police honor officer in hospice care with retirement ceremony

Palatine police honored a fellow officer on hospice care with a special retirement ceremony Friday evening.

Chief Alan Stoeckel and at least 60 others from the department honored Officer Mark Dahlem, 48, at JourneyCare in Barrington. Dahlem received a retirement plaque for his service from 1995 to 2019 as part of the ceremony in his room.

"Throughout his career, Mark's been known as a solid cop's cop," reads the text on the plaque written by Stoeckel. "Highly respected by his peers and those he served in the community, both officers and supervisors knew they could depend on Mark. "Whether he was a helping a rookie during field training or assisting a veteran officer, Mark embraces the Teamwork philosophy. He serves as a friend and informal leader to many, which is a rare quality in law enforcement."

Dahlem's wife, Kimberly, said Palatine officers have been at JourneyCare 24 hours a day for her husband and the couple's family since he entered the facility Jan. 18. She said the retirement ceremony was another example of the extraordinary compassion and devotion from her husband's colleagues.

"There is nothing we go without," said Kimberly Dahlem, 46. "They have walked this entire journey with us."

Mark Dahlem has been known for more than his work serving and protecting Palatine residents and businesses. The father of a 15-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son has been a youth football and baseball coach in his hometown of Cary.

In December 2017, just eight days after seeing a doctor to check on severe headaches and five days after emergency surgery to remove a tumor, Dahlem learned he had glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive form of brain cancer. Family, friends, law enforcement colleagues and others rallied behind him.

Kimberly Dahlem said her husband eventually returned to full-time duty last year but had a setback when doctors found a tumor in late October. She said her husband had surgery New Year's Eve and seemed well enough that he asked when he could resume working full time as a Palatine officer and return to coaching youth sports.

Her husband was a patrol officer, field training officer, juvenile officer, Fremd High School liaison and crime scene technician during his Palatine career. His retirement plaque notes his attention to detail and investigative abilities made him become a go-to guy in his 14 years as a crime scene technician.

"Mark's humble, but charismatic 'beat cop' approach will forever be loved and appreciated by those whose lives he influenced throughout his career," Stoeckel wrote.

Palatine police honored fellow Officer Mark Dahlem with a retirement ceremony Friday at JourneyCare in Barrington. Dahlem, of Cary, entered hospice care Jan. 18.
Palatine police gather around fellow Officer Mark Dahlem and his family during a retirement ceremony in his honor Friday at JourneyCare in Barrington. Dahlem, of Cary, entered hospice care Jan. 18. Courtesy of JourneyCare
"They have walked this entire journey with us," Kimberly Dahlem said of Palatine police officers who lined up Friday for a retirement ceremony in honor of her husband, Officer Mark Dahlem, at JourneyCare in Barrington. Courtesy of JourneyCare
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