Oak Lawn and Alsip residents stood respectfully Saturday along 111th Street to pay respects to a man they likely never met, slain Chicago Police Commander Paul Bauer.
The Chicago Police Commander of the 18th District, lost his life last week while chasing a suspect who is accused of shooting and killing the commander. His funeral mass began in at Nativity of Our Lord Church, in his home area of Bridgeport. However, the procession continued on the expressway to 111th Street through the Morgan Park, Beverly and Mt. Greenwood areas of Chicago before hitting Oak Lawn and Alsip and eventually coming to Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.
The Chicago media, the Chicago Police Department, Chicago’s 19th Ward Alderman Matt O’Shea and others urged residents to pay their respects to Bauer by standing along the route. In the 19th Ward, the home to many Chicago police officers, crowds huddled along the street standing two or three deep at times.
However, other villages and towns, such as Oak Lawn and Alsip, had residents join in as the funeral passed through almost in parade fashion led by multiple Chicago Police vehicles.
At 111th and Cicero Avenue, where Alsip and Oak Lawn meet, two fire department ladder trucks from Crestwood and Western Springs, hoisted an oversized American flag in the middle of 111th Street that the funeral cars passed under as residents snapped photos and paid their personal respects to the man.
While the crowds were slight compared to the crowds in Chicago, several residents from Oak Lawn voiced their reasons for attending the event on a Saturday afternoon. A young mother, with two daughters told the Oak Lawn Leaf that she brought her daughters to the event in an attempt to teach them about the sacrifices of others for the public good.
It was a message that was shared by many along the line including several who held “Blue Lives Matter Flags”.
Chicago police officers, Oak Lawn police officers and both police and fire department personnel from towns as far away as Taylorville, Illinois, joined in paying respects.
American Flags dominated the area but there were some people who held Blue Lives Matter flags in the Oak Lawn part of the procession. In the 19th Ward, Alderman O’Shea’s office had reportedly distributed signs that noted that the 19th Ward Salutes Commander Paul Bauer. Alsip Mayor John Ryan had posted a Facebook message asking residents to pay their respects by standing on 111th Street.
Oak Lawn sent an Everbridge message to residents that stated:
On the afternoon of Saturday, February 17th , the funeral procession for Chicago Police Commander Paul Bauer will be travelling westbound through Oak Lawn on 111th St. between Pulaski Rd. and Central Ave. The procession is expected be entering Oak Lawn between 12:30 P.M. and 2:00 P.M. Drivers should expect delays. Central Ave. will be closed between 111th St. and 115th St. Residents wishing to honor Commander Bauer can line up on the north side of 111th St. between Pulaski Rd. and Central Ave. where flags will be distributed at 12:30 P.M. Residents wishing to participate are asked to avoid parking or utilizing 111th St. but park within walking distance. Please use caution when driving. Thank you. This is a message from the Oak Lawn Everbridge System.
Paul Bauer, 54 years old, was a 31 year veteran of the Chicago police. He is survived by his wife and his 13 year old daughter.