Bloomingdale officer showed how small acts can make a big difference

  • Bloomingdale police officer Raymond Murrell was remembered Wednesday for small steps he took to improve relations between law enforcement and community members.

    Bloomingdale police officer Raymond Murrell was remembered Wednesday for small steps he took to improve relations between law enforcement and community members. Courtesy of Bloomingdale Police Department

 
Posted1/27/2017 5:10 AM

In his all-too-brief career as a police officer, Raymond A. Murrell showed that even small actions can improve relations between police and the community they serve in a big way.

Bloomingdale Police Chief Frank Giammarese recalled one such instance Wednesday during his eulogy of the 27-year-old patrol officer, who died in a Jan. 19 crash while responding to a call.

 

"So Ray was at the car wash, like he always liked to be, and cleaning the car, with that radiant smile and good looks," Giammarese said, drawing laughs.

Murrell and another customer got to talking. The customer, Giammarese said, had a bad history with law enforcement and didn't think very highly of police.

"But Ray, in a conversation with this man, was able to change his ways of thinking about police," Giammarese said. "Ray, being the gentleman he is, politely took the gentleman's receipt and he paid for (his car wash) himself, to make an impact on this guy.

"It's indicative of the person Ray is and always will be."

Even more telling: Murrell never shared the story with his chief or colleagues. It was the recipient of his generosity who came to the Bloomingdale Police Department to tell commanders, Giammarese said.

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Toughest of them all

Given that the first floor of Wheaton Bible Church's sanctuary was nearly filled by law enforcement officers, it would have been easy to forget there was a family mourning the death of a young man.

But Murrell's cousin Rudy Casillas reminded the crowd that the guy who grew up to wear Badge 145 once was a kid. He had mourners laughing with tales of how Murrell ordered his Happy Meal cheeseburger with no bun, just cheese, and how he was easily upset as a youngster.

"If the air hit him a certain way, he started to cry," Casillas joked.

"Little did we know he would turn out to be the toughest of us all," he said.

Lake County sheriff's marine unit deputy Jonathan Levin, left, was honored as a hero this week by Fox Lake Police Chief Russell Laine, center, and Mayor Donny Schmit, for his lifesaving actions in July. Levin was off-duty when he pulled two motorcyclists from beneath a burning pickup truck that had hit them.
Lake County sheriff's marine unit deputy Jonathan Levin, left, was honored as a hero this week by Fox Lake Police Chief Russell Laine, center, and Mayor Donny Schmit, for his lifesaving actions in July. Levin was off-duty when he pulled two motorcyclists from beneath a burning pickup truck that had hit them. - Courtesy of the Lake County Sheriff's Office
No such thing as off duty

A Lake County sheriff's marine unit deputy was hailed as a hero this week for risking his safety to pull two men away from a burning vehicle after a fatal wreck in Fox Lake.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Making the feat even more impressive: Deputy Jonathan Levin wasn't even on duty when it happened.

Levin was driving home after wrapping up a shift on July 16 when he came across a crash involving a pickup truck and three motorcycles in Fox Lake. After using his personal vehicle to block traffic, Levin spotted the pickup truck on fire with two motorcyclists trapped underneath it.

Without any hesitation, Levin pulled both from the growing fire and performed first aid until paramedics arrived. One of the trapped motorcyclists died, but the second survived in large part due to Levin's quick actions, authorities say.

Fox Lake Mayor Donny Schmit, the village board, and Police Chief Russell Laine publicly honored Levin this week for his heroism.

"Deputy Levin's actions were brave and heroic; they went above and beyond the call of duty, which resulted in a life being saved," Undersheriff Ray Rose said.

Law enforcement from across the region went all out Tuesday in response to an armed standoff in Bartlett. Police there say it's standard procedure for suburban departments to help one another out in a crisis situation.
  Law enforcement from across the region went all out Tuesday in response to an armed standoff in Bartlett. Police there say it's standard procedure for suburban departments to help one another out in a crisis situation. - Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer
From far and wide

To say the police response to this week's deadly standoff in Bartlett was "large" would be a large understatement.

Dozens of police officers from departments as far away as Schiller Park and McHenry descended on the scene Tuesday, after a man shot his ex-wife, then barricaded himself inside his home for hours before killing himself.

Why such a large turnout? We asked Barlett police Cmdr. Michael McGuigan.

It's all standard procedure, said McGuigan, who spent much of his Tuesday dealing with the standoff and its aftermath. Whenever a major event occurs -- whether it be an armed standoff or natural disaster -- departments enact the Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System, bringing in assistance from officers across the region.

"When you have a crisis situation like that, ILEAS is there to help," he said.

Although it might seem that with so many officers in one place they would be tripping over one another, everyone has a job -- whether it be securing the area, directing traffic or serving on a SWAT team, he said.

Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, right, is escorted by soldiers and Marines to a waiting helicopter in Mexico City. Since he's now in the U.S. for prosecution, the Chicago Crime Commission this week stripped Guzman of the title "Public Enemy Number One."
Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, right, is escorted by soldiers and Marines to a waiting helicopter in Mexico City. Since he's now in the U.S. for prosecution, the Chicago Crime Commission this week stripped Guzman of the title "Public Enemy Number One." - AP Photo/Marco Ugarte, 2016
Who's No. 1?

Not El Chapo.

The Chicago Crime Commission officially stripped notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman of his designation as "Public Enemy Number One" this week. That's because he's in the United States to face charges he steered a criminal operation that included murder, drug dealing, money laundering and more.

The commission gave Guzman the title in 2013, making him just the second person to hold it. The first? Al Capone, in 1930.

"Not since the Chicago Crime Commission's first Public Enemy Number One has any criminal deserved this title more than Guzman," said J.R. Davis, the commission's chairman and president. "Compared to Guzman, Al Capone looks like an amateur."

The commission expects it won't be another 83 years before it names its next "worst of the worst," General Counsel Andrew Henning told us. The agency's board plans to meet with federal and local law enforcement in the coming weeks to determine whether another wanted criminal with Chicago ties deserves the moniker.

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