City Council honors felled police officer

By Patrick Smith

Mayor Richard M. Daley opened the March 10 City Council meeting by honoring Police Sgt. Alan Haymaker, who died in the line of duty last month.

Haymaker was killed when his police car slid out of control and crashed on Lake Shore Drive near Irving Park Road while he was speeding to respond to a burglary in Lakeview. Several aldermen rose to speak about the officer, including 2nd Ward Alderman Bob Fioretti, who represents the South Loop.

“Since I’ve become an alderman, I’ve been to four funerals for men in blue,” Fioretti said. “We don’t do enough to honor them and recognize them while they are alive.”

Fioretti went on to quote Socrates about the value of living a “good life.”

Daley said it was unfortunate, but not surprising, that people do not do enough to honor police officers while they are alive.

“No one recognizes anyone before they die, even your family members, you don’t realize who you have in your own life,” Daley said.

Daley said he was especially impressed that Haymaker graduated from Moody Bible Institute.

“He went to Moody’s and became a theologian … he was a police officer. He was a church member. He was a family member.”

Haymaker’s family and police officers who worked with him, including Police Superintendent Jody Weis, attended the City Council meeting. While all of the aldermen in attendance rose to vote aye on a resolution honoring Haymaker, Daley stepped down from his seat to shake hands with Haymaker’s family.

“He was a well-respected police officer; he handled himself in a professional way but also in a passionate way,” Daley said. “The outpouring at the services was overwhelming; [you could tell] he was really a remarkable man.”

Alderman Tom Tunney (44th Ward) was one of the aldermen to rise to honor the officer. He said Haymaker died as a hero. It was in Tunney’s Ward, at 3167 N. Clark St., that an early morning burglary occurred, leading to Haymaker’s crash. At around 5 a.m. on Feb. 22, Haymaker’s car skidded off Lake Shore Drive at the Irving Park Road exit and slammed into a light post.

Haymaker worked as an officer in the 44th Ward.

There were news reports speculating the poor condition of Haymaker’s police car caused him to crash, but Daley dismissed that notion.

“No, they have to go at high speeds,” Daley said. “When you go at high speeds it’s very, very dangerous.”

Haymaker was a third-generation Chicago Police Officer, who worked out of the Town Hall Police District, at 3600 N. Halsted Ave., since December 2009. He joined the police force in 1988 after working as an assistant pastor.