Police leader: ‘real crime’ does occur Park Ridge
Park Ridge Police Officer Tom Rechlicz
Updated: November 27, 2012 11:20AM
PARK RIDGE — Park Ridge Police Officer Tom Rechlicz, a 13-year member of the department, is one of five new beat leaders who act as points of contact between members of the community and the police.
Rechlicz is in charge of Beat Three which encompasses the western part of the city and is bordered by Greenwood Avenue, Talcott Road/Riverside Drive, and the Metra tracks. As a beat leader Rechlicz hopes to get to know as many citizens as he can and encourage them to feel comfortable approaching police with any questions, problems or quality of life issues they have.
Q. What are the most significant issues in your police beat?
A. Neighbor disputes are a common issue. Not specific to my area, but our program has been working with a number of families with regards to this issue. My area does not have a lot of businesses and is primarily residential, so any of those issues that typically occur in residential areas is what I deal with. I also have a lot of schools and parks. I would say that I spend a lot of my time addressing issues around those two areas.
Q. You used to focus a great deal on stopping overweight trucks using city streets. Has the department moved away from this type of traffic enforcement?
A. Several years back I was assigned to the traffic section. One of my primary responsibilities was overweight truck enforcement. Now that I have been assigned to the patrol division and the beat leader program my time is obligated in other areas. However, I still conduct enforcement throughout the day as I see violations. Trucks drivers who violate the weight limits can have a serious impact on our roads and, ultimately, how soon we need to fix them. This affects our residents through taxes and where the city has to focus its funds. That’s why it’s important to address them as we see them.
Q. What are the biggest misconceptions citizens have about the Park Ridge Police?
A. When I started here I had heard that we were tough on kids. I am sure that everyone has a neighbor who has heard from a friend that his daughter’s cousin’s son or daughter had a run in with a Park Ridge Police officer. And to be honest, I am sure that some of us have some experiences that we could review and think that we may have done better. That being said, I truly feel that those cases are in the minority. The same can be said for our kids. The vast majority of them are respectful when dealing with us and are really kids being kids, just looking for something to do. But there is a smaller segment who show such disdain for authority and challenge us inappropriately.
I would also say that another misconception of our agency is that we don’t deal with “real crime.” While I happily acknowledge that our violent crime is relatively low, residents need to know that, as with any large urban city, your police deal with serious issues. Whether it’s a homicide, suicide, gang members or fighting with arrestees, it all happens in our community.
Q. Is there a case you were involved in that still stands out in your mind?
A. Last year I was involved with a man-with-a gun call. You never know what you’re going to walk into when this type of call goes out. Sometimes it’s a person with a BB gun, but in this case it was a distraught man who was walking in and out of the Marathon station on Oakton. The clerk reported that he was wearing a pistol on his hip. As I arrived with other officers, I saw the subject and he did have a firearm on his right hip in a holster.
Police work is very unpredictable. One minute you can be crossing kids for school and the next you can be staring down a man with a gun.