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By Bud Harton

After coming home from Vietnam, I became a patrol officer in a small department in the south suburbs of Chicago. Although having spent almost three years in heavy combat, I was way too immature to be a cop but I did some good things, screwed up a couple of others and had some moments that still stay with me more than 40 years later . . .

This was long before modern telecommunications. When I started, my department was still getting used to radios in squad cars and every senior officer could remember when patrol officers received their calls by seeing a flashing red light on the village water tower which indicated they should call in to the department from a pay phone.

When I was hired, they had just received their first “walkie-talkies” which were cumbersome bricks made by Motorola. They were a handful and their extendable antennas were always getting broken when officers forgot to push them down into the radio before closing a door, or worse yet, by a combative prisoner.

Our radio frequency was shared by 35 different south suburban police departments and at one time there could be as many as 300 police units on duty, all supported by up to 35 different dispatching agencies. The radio never stopped talking. You could tone down some of the reception by dialing down the squelch, but when you transmitted, more often than not, you were “walked on” by someone else transmitting at the same time. You learned to listen for your dispatcher’s voice to alert you to a potential call for you or your shift partners.

While always chaotic, there were some positive aspects because when coordinating a call between departments, such as an extra-jurisdictional pursuit or an “officer needs help” response, responding units from different departments could talk to each other and coordinate their actions.

On frequent occasions, the need would arise to shut everyone up so a single station or an officer could put out emergency information. All an officer had to do was call his dispatcher and identify himself and ask for a clear channel for an emergency. His dispatcher, utilizing a much more powerful base station radio, would then announce, “All units and stations, standby for an emergency, unit with the emergency go ahead.” When that happened there was instant quiet over the entire network and every cop on duty when be listening and sometimes, ready to respond.

But it also caused some horrendous problems.

So it was on October 1, 1972. I was on the afternoon shift, 3pm to 11pm and it was towards the end of the shift. It was a late fall Sunday evening, just cool enough for a light jacket, but still warm enough that I could cruise my patrol area with my front windows down. I kept them open so I could hear outside the car and late on a Sunday evening you could hear things for quite a ways.

In particular, I was listening for the sudden accelerating roar of two cars street racing. This was the end of the muscle car era and I was driving a Ford Police Interceptor with a 428 engine and a quad (four barreled) carburetor. I lived for pursuits because I was still young and stupid.

The drone of the radio continued on in the background and I heard a Hillside officer, some thirty miles north of me, announce a traffic stop of a suspicious car. His dispatcher acknowledged his car and I heard him say, “The westbound ramp of the Ike (Eisenhower expressway) L-lincoln, L-lincoln 5” and then he got walked on by another station or car. Hillside PD came back and asked the car to repeat but there was no answer.

I just paid the slightest attention to it as I continue to listen for drag racers. Then Hillside PD came on again and announced an emergency, “All stations and units in the vicinity, the Swedish Manor restaurant on Roosevelt Road was just held up by three offenders who fled the scene in an unidentified vehicle.” The Swedish Manor was on Roosevelt at Mannheim, and Mannheim has a westbound on ramp for the Eisenhower Expressway.

Then shortly after, a second Hillside unit, dispatched to back up the unit on a traffic stop up reported that he had found the first unit on the ramp, driver’s door open and the emergency lights and spotlight still on. But the Officer was missing.

The missing officer was Anthony “Tony” Raymond and he had been a police officer for just two years. The three offenders from the armed robbery had indeed been in the car that Officer Raymond had stopped and they had managed to overpower him and take him hostage. They drove to one of the offenders’ homes where they used a guitar string to strangle him and then stabbed him four times in the back before stuffing him in a 55 gallon barrel and burying him in a Wisconsin farm owned by a relative of one of the offenders. When his body was found, eleven months later, his hands were still cuffed behind his back.

Two of the three were apprehended. The third was killed in a separate armed robbery in Indiana in 1973. Both the surviving criminals were sentenced to multiple consecutive life terms. One died in prison in 2009 and the other still survives, continuing to appeal for parole every year.

I spent weeks of off duty time along with hundreds of other officer volunteers trying to find Officer Raymond. To say his loss, even though I never met him, affected my entire life should be quite obvious.

Officer Anthony Charles Raymond, Hillside (Illinois) Police Department, husband and father, End of Watch October 1, 1972, rest in peace.

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  1. Other than Hillside not being a southern suburb nice entry-BTW that’s another entry with no name…

      • And 30 miles north of a western suburb is still not a southern suburb of Chicago. Hillside lies on the Eisenhower expressway-west of Chicago-and I’ve been in every town within 60 miles of Chicago in all directions.

        • ” I became a patrol officer in a small department in the south suburbs of Chicago” (which was Park Forest which starts at at 211th Street south or 28 miles south of Randolph street, the dividing line between north and south) in Chicago and Hillside is located on Roosevelt road which is 12th Street South or 1 1/2 mile south of Randolph Street. Randolph Street is the numeric dividing line of Chicago and is accepted pretty much for Cook County when describing geographical locations.

          The other radio frequency in use at the time was the northern suburbs. There was no “western” suburban radio frequency.

          But good nitpicking there and I guess the subject of my story completely escaped you, right? I would make an effort to read slower next time and try to interpret the words correctly as they are written, not as you imagined.

        • Even though it’s a western-ish ‘burb, some old timers will still refer to Hillside ‘southside’.

        • and 28 mi. north is highwood. accepted by who?
          randolf is 200 north on chicago’s grid.
          madison is zero hundred north/ south.
          what’s zero hundred east/ west?

        • He never says that Hillside is a southern suburb. He was in a southern ‘burb, and the radio call was from HIllside, 30 miles away. You get an A in Geography, but a D in reading comprehension.

        • Former Water Walker

          Stop being an idiot and read the article before you stick your foot in your mouth!!!!

          “I became a patrol officer in a small department in the south suburbs of Chicago.”

        • As a former resident of Chicago Heights, Il., a south suburb of Chicago, Park Forest is indeed a south suburb of Chicago. This is a sad story with a terrible end. I will have to ask my dad about this one. He was a police officer in Chicago Heights for some time.

  2. Dan Z: did you write this entry? If not, could you post the attribution when you have a chance? Thanks!

  3. Tragic end for Officer Raymond and his family. Killed while on duty by a bunch of animals. I hope that one guy that is still in prison never gets out. He should have been executed to pay for his crimes. Waste of money to feed and house him for that many years. Also noticed he was not killed by gunshots but by “other means” . More proof that the person is responsible for the crime and not the tool(s) they used. Appears, in this case, that they could have pulled the whole thing off without guns. Not sure about the robbery part though. And, if they did have guns, why kill Officer Raymond by other means ? Just to be cruel or some kind of sadistic satisfaction ?

  4. Gee Bud I lived in Park Forest-and Broadview-NEAR Hillside.I GET the point. I said it was a good entry but you decide to be jerk about it-and in my experience Park Forest cops were the worst racist pricks I’ve ever seen(next to Chicago)-and I’m from Kankakee-redneck KKK country. Not some 20 something kid either-in my 60’s.

  5. my only complaint is that October 1st would be early fall, not late fall, since fall starts a week before October.

  6. Relevance?

    Interesting and well written but nothing to do with guns.

    Also, a lot of hand wringing about being young and foolish but I don’t know what that has to do with the guy getting killed.

    My uncle was police chief of Harwood Heights, a Chicago suburb. Didn’t know him very well. My brother was convinced that he and my grandfather had mob connections. I doubt it.

    See? That’s more irrelevant information that has nothing to do with guns.

    • When you attend the committee meeting at TTAG hq to pick the winners make sure you bring up the relevence issue for this entry.

      • And if it was rambling and had no logical connection to any of the events within the story and wasn’t about guns, I would probably point yours out as being unworthy of winning the contest as well.

    • Here’s your relevance: never let yourself be disarmed. Bad guys don’t follow the Geneva conventions. If you’re at gunpoint, it’s probably better to take a round and hope it hits a non-vital area than to surrender your weapon without a fight. If you’re losing a physical fight while you gun is holstered, the fight becomes a gunfight.

      This isn’t the only case of police officers learning that lesson the hard way.

    • I seriously wonder the relevance, to, well, anything.

      Supposedly penned by a youngish-at-the-time-of-occurrence ‘Nam vet who had spent years ‘in the feces’. Yet for some reason the death of someone he says he never even met, nor could he have in any possible world saved, somehow sticks with him for more than 5 minutes. Really? Why? I know vets who were in the ish, they’ve had to learn to handle death of close friends. Some guy they never even met once? Egads, the give-an-eff meter is pegged at zero.

      Makes no sense to me. I figured out how to reconcile the random death of actual friends around 16, without seeing the things that happened in ‘Nam. Some random dude I’ve never even met, that I could not have possibly saved? Seriously, WTF?

      • Something doesnt have to be so close to you to be traumatizing, or at least cause you to never forget it. Is it relevant to the Truth About Guns? No, its not really a gun story. But it is a story. A man is remembering something that stuck with him. As a police officer, I can only imagine that this would stick with you, as such a scenario is probably in the back of your mind at all times. I believe the saying goes “there is no such thing as a routine traffic stop”.

        • I just want to know how/why the story is important to the author. Assuming the background to be true, why is this otherwise inconsequential (on a personal level) event even meaningful? Why does it resonate?

  7. The author’s ‘stache progression, then-to-now, should be worthy of consideration of the rifle prize.

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