It's been strange the last couple days. On Tuesday, while we were both at work, the texts and Facebook messages came in. Friends let us know that an officer was shot in Fox Lake (the town we live in) and the 3 suspects were on-the-loose. Dave turned CNN on the office TV and watched helicopter shots of officers lining a two mile stretch of road that parallels the train tracks he rides on each day. Reporters were standing in front of the place he got his oil changed last Friday. The last two miles of the train ride home truly demonstrated how serious the manhunt was with officers, SWAT Hummers, and town vehicles blocking-off closed streets. The news reported that this was the first officer killed in the line of duty in our county in the last 35 years.
We have lived in Fox Lake for 13 years. If you put all the officers that serve our town in a line up in street clothes mixed with other people and asked us to identify members of our local law enforcement, Lt. Joe would have been the only one we could identify. We'd see him at the local 5K's, the town's Oktoberfest directing the Explorer's (junior police organization- kinda like scouting), or working to fill sandbags during floods. Holly would see him often at her gym and he always said hello. We saw Joe off-duty about 10 days ago at a local business' anniversary party. They are getting it right on the news - he was a known and loved member of the community.
Last night we watched the recaps of the lakeside vigil while reports were coming in of the possible location of two suspects a few miles south. We fell asleep with the iPad in the bed and the police scanner app running. We woke up to find the report was a hoax in order to gain attention.
Some local teens have started a Twitter campaign called @foxlakeproject with the goals of getting a memorial or park to honor Lt. Joe.
Hopefully they can end the manhunt quickly so the family and the community can get some closure and begin to feel a little bit safer.