Page 42 - 01B_CL7_FEB22.indd
P. 42

    CPD Marine Unit Officers Andrew Riley, Gretchen Chavez and Kurt Kaner navigated through the icy waters of Lake Michigan to rescue a teenager who had fallen in.
see she was partly alert and immediately wrapped her in blan- kets and heating pads to raise her body temperature.
“She was moaning a little bit,” Riley described. “The air tem- perature hit her wet body, and that’s absolutely brutal. She was just in pain.”
When they arrived onshore, an ambulance was waiting. The girl was transported to a local hospital, where she made a com- plete recovery with no injuries.
Each of the officers in the marine unit played a significant role in saving a life that day. And it holds significance for each of them in different ways.
“It’s a humbling experience to know that I played a part in helping those guys get to the woman in a fast enough time that she was able to be taken out of the water,” Karczewski reflected. “And it’s a rewarding feeling to know that in this case, she is go- ing to live another day to see her family. She made a full recov- ery, and that’s what it’s all about.”
Kaner will always remember his last rescue two days before he retired and the incredible teamwork it took to make it hap- pen. From Karczewski directing where to go, to the officers who were first to arrive on the scene to throw her a life ring buoy, it was a team effort he will never forget.
“The most satisfying events that I’ve done were successful rescues,” Kaner recounted. “I thank God that He gave me that ability to be good at. I enjoyed the challenges of every rescue and the dangers of it, and I wasn’t alone. I did it with a crew of people that were like-minded and had the same motivation, and that’s rewarding when you’re with a group of people like that.”
Riley found the rescue equally rewarding. He attributes it to the level of trust they have with one another to work together
and confidence in their own abilities.
“We work together so well, and we trust each other so well,
that when we have incidents like this, it pretty much went seamlessly on our end,” Riley recounted. “That’s what really resonates with me, being able to be out here and help people. And fortunately, we were there, and we were able to help this girl out.”
For Chavez, the rescue was an example of a team that works well together to perform their job to potentially save someone’s life.
“The job has those moments of being able to help someone. It gives you a sense of purpose with the Department,” Chavez admitted. “And affirms the reason why many of us joined the Police Department, to help others and get someone to the other side of a tragic event.”
The marine unit braved the icy waters to rescue a young girl, and this is just a snapshot of the extremely difficult yet reward- ing work they do daily. As one of the Department’s prized spe- cialized details, the marine unit is charged with covering miles and miles of water and shoreline.
Often, marine unit officers take on multiple jobs. They patrol the lake and river along with the U.S. Coast Guard and the Illi- nois Department of Natural Resources. They provide safety and security for stranded boats, put out water fires and assist with weapon recovery, as well as recoveries of those who have fallen through the ice.
But their most rewarding work is saving a life, like they did on Jan. 10.
“Getting a positive outcome in a tragic situation, that’s the most rewarding part of the job,” Chavez added. “Rescuing some- one and helping someone in a tragic event, especially with kids and children, to me, that’s the most rewarding part of this job.”
  From left, CPD Marine Unit Officer Andrew Riley, who was the rescue diver, and Kurt Kaner, who captained the boat, performed a rescue two days be- fore Kaner retired.
CPD Marine Unit officers train to dive into Lake Michigan to perform recov- eries and rescues.

   40   41   42   43   44