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Officer Down

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

NEWS: Longtime reserve officer retires from Franklin Park force

Thanks for all your years of service and I guess we should say thanks for giving us Harvey Jr.--

Story at Pioneer Press

Harvey Hobik is shown on the job as a reserve police officer, a job he did for 37 years until retiring April 1. | Sun-Times Media File Photo

April 16, 2013

Updated: April 16, 2013 6:45PM

FRANKLIN PARK — Harvey Hobik joined the auxiliary police in Franklin Park in 1976. He retired on April 1 after 37 years with the department.

During that time he served under at least seven police chiefs. He was born in Chicago and has lived in Franklin Park since 1975.

Known as “Pops” or “Mr. H,” in recent years, Hobik, 69, answered a few questions in a distinctive deep voice that’s full of authority.

Q: You served in the military?

A: The Army, from 1963 to 1965. Thirteen months in Vietnam.

Q: What did you do in the Army?

A: I was in the signal corps. I had a secret clearance. There were secret documents that brigade headquarters would send to all the companies and battalions. We translated it into English and took it to the commanding officers and they made decisions on strategy.

Q: Ever take part in combat?

A: We had to drive 14 miles to Vin Long air base to pick up food supplies, mail, materials for the company. It was a one-lane road. We were attacked once. We pulled off to the side and jumped into the rice paddies. We called in the gunships and waited for them to do their work. I never fired a rifle, though.

Q: What did you do after being discharged?

A: I was hired by the Chicago Board of Education as a motor truck driver in 1965. I delivered mail to the schools for seven years. From there I went into the office and became a motor truck foreman. I retired in 1998.

Q: How did you hear about being an auxiliary police officer in Franklin Park?

A: A friend of mine whose father-in-law was the mayor at the time. He was an accountant and did the taxes for the chief of police. My wife was pregnant with the babies. I said I could use a good part-time job.

Q: Besides bringing in extra money, why did you become an auxiliary officer?

A: I always wanted to be a police officer. Before I went there, I tested for the Chicago Police. The written test was no problem. I flunked the physical. You had to wait a year or so before you could retake. That’s when I went in and applied for the auxiliary position with Franklin Park.

Q: How about training?

A: In 1976, there was six months of training. Use of a billy club, handcuff training, qualifications with weapons. There was a range at Soldier Field at the time. Cook County ran it. Handgun, revolver and shotgun.

Q: How many hours did you work as an auxiliary officer?

A: 12 to 15 a month. There were 33 of us at the time. Everyone wanted assignments so you went by seniority.

Q: How much were you paid?

A: When I started, I was making $5 or $6 an hour. I was making $12.85 an hour when I retired.

Q: What does an auxiliary officer do?

A: Emptied all the parking meters. Double-checked the meters to check that there was money. Check for passes on rear view mirror. Check to make sure everyone paid. If not, you write tickets. When I was done, I would count the money and take it to the bank. Swing into the village and pick up the deposit. Bring back deposit slips. And whatever else they wanted me to do. Go to post office, pick up mail for the village.

Q: Any interesting moments?

A: We were in charge of walking the Jewel (grocery) area and making sure all the doors of the businesses were locked. They had a currency exchange. I check the door and it’s unlocked at 7 at night. There are lights on in back. I called it in. I said maybe you should send a car in. All of a sudden, from all over the place, there were squads. Sgt. Bill Kush said OK, take out your revolver, point it at the ground. We’re going in. The lady was in back counting the proceeds but she forgot to lock the door. When the sergeant went in the back, she let out a whoop!

Q: What does the public not know about auxiliary police?

A: For 90 percent, because you are in uniform and you have a badge and a gun, you are the real police.

Q: How has the police department changed over the years you were an auxiliary officer?

A: More training. Also, how to relate to people. There’s a different mindset with the guys now. When I started you could go up to a teenager and give him a clop on the head and say go home or I’m calling your mother. Nowadays the paperwork, everything has to go into the computer. One officer would go out early in the morning. A guy would be passed out drunk. The officer would pick the guy up, put him in the squad and take him to his wife.

Q: How many police chiefs have you served under?

A: James Bickley, Ralph Iovinelli, Jack Krecker, Randy Petersen, Tom Wolfe, Joe Patti, Mike Witz.

Q: I understand your son is a police officer in Bellwood?

A: He was an auxiliary officer too, in Franklin Park. Maybe it was me (who inspired him). He’s a sergeant and watch commander.