Hickory Hills Police Officer Michael Franks salutes Wednesday as the family of slain Chicago Police Officer Ella French is driven south on Harlem Avenue through Summit and Bridgeview. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

Hickory Hills Police Officer Michael Franks salutes Wednesday as the family of slain Chicago Police Officer Ella French is driven south on Harlem Avenue through Summit and Bridgeview. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

Paying respect to slain CPD Officer Ella French

By Steve Metsch

A 100 or so people paid their respects to the family of slain Chicago Police Officer Ella French on Wednesday afternoon, standing along Harlem Avenue in Bridgeview.

Residents and police officers from Bridgeview, Hickory Hills, Willow Springs and other suburbs quietly stood on the west side of the street near Niko’s Banquet Hall.

The family was driven south on Harlem by Chicago police from the Stevenson Expressway to 79th Street on their way to Officer French’s visitation Wednesday evening at St. Rita Shrine Chapel at St. Rita High School, 7740 S. Western Ave., Chicago.

Her funeral mass is set to begin at 10 a.m. Thursday at the church.

French was shot to death last week during a traffic stop in Chicago Lawn.

Although the swift procession was over in moments, there were no complaints voiced about waiting on a muggy afternoon.

“It’s a shame,” said Susan Herkel, 61, of Chicago’s Clearing neighborhood, as she fought back tears. “Chicago is losing too many of their police officers.”

“I have a lot of friends who are police officers, and they are just scared for their lives,” Herkel said. “Mayor Lightfoot needs to step up and do something.”

Her mother, Marie Wurtz, 86, said, “I think it’s terrible. I feel sorry for the families.”

Willow Springs Police Chief Jim Ritz was impressed by the turnout.

Ritz noted the strong suburban connection with Officer French who, as a girl, attended Gross School in Brookfield and Riverside-Brookfield High School.

“I feel so, so sad for the city of Chicago and its police officers,” Ritz said.

Bridgeview resident Armando Martinez, 56, came “to show respect for the police officer.” He regretted forgetting his American flag at home.

“It’s bad, really bad,” he said when asked about the danger police officers face every day.

“She was a young officer, too,” he added.

Martinez’ wife, Cynthia Velasquez, 52, said, “It’s a shame what police go through … This is senseless, senseless. They didn’t have to shoot her.”

A seven-year Hickory Hills Police Officer, Michael Franks, 35, declined comment. Instead, he gave a crisp salute to the passing vehicles carrying French family members en route to St. Rita.

Several children were in the crowd.

Theo Sanchez, 32, of Bridgeview, brought his two daughters, who are in the fifth and fourth grades.

“I want them to understand the importance of family,” said Sanchez, who called French’s death “tragic.”

“I have family on the (police) force and I can’t imagine having to go through this,” Sanchez said. “For her and her family, I feel terrible.”

dvn bridgeview salutes french

Susan Herkel (right) and her mother, Marie Wurtz, are heartbroken by the murder of Chicago Police Officer Ella French.

Local News

Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart

Dart warns of Kia, Hyundai thefts

Suggests steps to protect vehicle owners From staff reports Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart is warning the public about what he is calling a dramatic rise in thefts of certain models of Kia and Hyundai vehicles. He is urging owners to take additional precautions to reduce the risk of theft. In the past few…

Roberts Road closures and detours. (Supplied by Illinois Tollway Authority)

Overnight closures coming Monday night for Roberts Road, 87th Street

Overnight road closures, including weekend full intersection closures with detours, will be scheduled on Roberts Road and 87th Street during the next two weeks to accommodate mainline bridge beam placement as part of the Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294) Project. Overnight lane closures will also be scheduled on southbound I-294 during this time to complete the work. On Monday, August 15,…

IllinoisTollwayLogo_HiRes

Traffic shift coming Monday on Tri-State between 83rd Street and Mile-Long Bridge

Beginning Monday, night, a traffic shift is scheduled on the northbound Central Tri-State Tollway between the 83rd Street Toll Plaza and the Mile Long Bridge, including removal of the current counterflow configuration. Four lanes will remain open. Overnight August 15, on northbound I-294 between the 83rd Street Toll Plaza and the Mile Long Bridge overnight lane closures will be scheduled, with traffic reduced to a single lane…

Sandburg's Jillian Cosler finished second in a prestigious tournament in Decatur on Friday. Photo courtesy of Sandburg High School.

Area Sports Roundup: Sandburg golfer Jillian Cosler opens high school sports season with a bang

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer The 2022-23 high school sports season opened with a bang. Practices were allowed to begin on Aug. 8 and the IHSA unleashed boys and girls golfers on Aug. 11; and there was some excitement the next day. Sandburg’s girls golf team participated in the Prep Tour Showcase at Hickory Point…

Fire goalie Gabriel "Gaga" Slonina and his teammates have four games scheduled at SeatGeek Stadium in the coming months. Photo courtesy of Chicago Fire

Pro Soccer Report: Chicago Fire to play four matches at SeatGeek

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer Before soccer fans could blink their eyes, SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview has been tabbed to host four Chicago Fire games. SeatGeek was the MLS club’s home from 2006 until 2019, when it moved to Soldier Field. Conflicts with Soldier Field’s prized tenants, the Chicago Bears, and damage to the playing…

With the color guard flags whipping in the breeze, the Shepard High School marching band rehearses their new field show. (Supplied photos)

Marching Astros take the field

Weeks before the start of the new school year, marching band members from Shepard High School baked in the summer sun to prepare for the coming competitive season. As much as any event, marching band camp signals the start of a new school year. For a week, the Marching Astros arrived early and stayed late…

Ryan Clancy talks about his sister, Chicago Police Officer Patricia "Patsy" Swank, 29, who committed suicide last month. Clancy said the pressure on all police officers is a heavy burden and supports the Oak Lawn Police Department following a controversial arrest of a teen last month. Clancy made his comments during the Oak Lawn Village Board meeting Tuesday morning.(Photo by Joe Boyle)

Oak Lawn residents offer staunch support for police

By Joe Boyle Oak Lawn residents came out in force to offer support for the village’s police department after a well-publicized arrest of a teen following a traffic stop last month. Residents jammed the Oak Lawn Village Hall for the board meeting Tuesday morning to provide testimony in support of officers after the arrest of…

American English, an award-winning Beatles cover band, entertained the large crowd for over two hours, despite on-and-off rain, as the final act of Sunday's event. (Photos by Isabella Schreck)

Tunes and tons of local restaurants come together at the Taste of Orland

By Isabella Schreck The Supremes, John Mellencamp and The Beatles came to the Taste of Orland. Well, really, tribute bands brought their music and presence to Orland Park Village Center’s stage. “I was really impressed with American English,” Rebecca Whealan, of Palos Heights, said. “From the costumes to their sound [Eric Michaels] as Paul McCartney,…

election 2022

Calandriello announces Biking the 17th District on Sunday

From staff reports Daniel Calandriello, the Democratic nominee for the Cook County Board 17th District, announced a “Biking the 17th District” event from Elk Grove Village to Orland Park on Sunday to raise awareness of the Cook County Forest Preserve. Calandriello, of Orland Park, plans to bike several trails located within the Cook County Forest…

Bob Krusza shows off his 1964 Chevy Impala SS at Thursday night's Auto Show. (Photo by Steve Neuhaus)

Willow Fest 2022

Willow Springs Willow Fest will take place through Sunday at Willow Springs Village Center, 1 Village Circle, Willow Springs (corner of Archer Avenue and Willow Springs Road). Hours are 4-11 p.m. Friday, 1-11 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday. Special needs hours 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Free parking. Free shuttle service…

Neighbors

DVN JCs Restoration House Ad
Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart

Dart warns of Kia, Hyundai thefts

Suggests steps to protect vehicle owners From staff reports Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart is warning the public about what he is calling a dramatic rise in thefts of certain models of Kia and Hyundai vehicles. He is urging owners to take additional precautions to reduce the risk of theft. In the past few…

Roberts Road closures and detours. (Supplied by Illinois Tollway Authority)

Overnight closures coming Monday night for Roberts Road, 87th Street

Overnight road closures, including weekend full intersection closures with detours, will be scheduled on Roberts Road and 87th Street during the next two weeks to accommodate mainline bridge beam placement as part of the Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294) Project. Overnight lane closures will also be scheduled on southbound I-294 during this time to complete the work. On Monday, August 15,…

IllinoisTollwayLogo_HiRes

Traffic shift coming Monday on Tri-State between 83rd Street and Mile-Long Bridge

Beginning Monday, night, a traffic shift is scheduled on the northbound Central Tri-State Tollway between the 83rd Street Toll Plaza and the Mile Long Bridge, including removal of the current counterflow configuration. Four lanes will remain open. Overnight August 15, on northbound I-294 between the 83rd Street Toll Plaza and the Mile Long Bridge overnight lane closures will be scheduled, with traffic reduced to a single lane…

Sandburg's Jillian Cosler finished second in a prestigious tournament in Decatur on Friday. Photo courtesy of Sandburg High School.

Area Sports Roundup: Sandburg golfer Jillian Cosler opens high school sports season with a bang

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer The 2022-23 high school sports season opened with a bang. Practices were allowed to begin on Aug. 8 and the IHSA unleashed boys and girls golfers on Aug. 11; and there was some excitement the next day. Sandburg’s girls golf team participated in the Prep Tour Showcase at Hickory Point…

Fire goalie Gabriel "Gaga" Slonina and his teammates have four games scheduled at SeatGeek Stadium in the coming months. Photo courtesy of Chicago Fire

Pro Soccer Report: Chicago Fire to play four matches at SeatGeek

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer Before soccer fans could blink their eyes, SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview has been tabbed to host four Chicago Fire games. SeatGeek was the MLS club’s home from 2006 until 2019, when it moved to Soldier Field. Conflicts with Soldier Field’s prized tenants, the Chicago Bears, and damage to the playing…

With the color guard flags whipping in the breeze, the Shepard High School marching band rehearses their new field show. (Supplied photos)

Marching Astros take the field

Weeks before the start of the new school year, marching band members from Shepard High School baked in the summer sun to prepare for the coming competitive season. As much as any event, marching band camp signals the start of a new school year. For a week, the Marching Astros arrived early and stayed late…

Ryan Clancy talks about his sister, Chicago Police Officer Patricia "Patsy" Swank, 29, who committed suicide last month. Clancy said the pressure on all police officers is a heavy burden and supports the Oak Lawn Police Department following a controversial arrest of a teen last month. Clancy made his comments during the Oak Lawn Village Board meeting Tuesday morning.(Photo by Joe Boyle)

Oak Lawn residents offer staunch support for police

By Joe Boyle Oak Lawn residents came out in force to offer support for the village’s police department after a well-publicized arrest of a teen following a traffic stop last month. Residents jammed the Oak Lawn Village Hall for the board meeting Tuesday morning to provide testimony in support of officers after the arrest of…

American English, an award-winning Beatles cover band, entertained the large crowd for over two hours, despite on-and-off rain, as the final act of Sunday's event. (Photos by Isabella Schreck)

Tunes and tons of local restaurants come together at the Taste of Orland

By Isabella Schreck The Supremes, John Mellencamp and The Beatles came to the Taste of Orland. Well, really, tribute bands brought their music and presence to Orland Park Village Center’s stage. “I was really impressed with American English,” Rebecca Whealan, of Palos Heights, said. “From the costumes to their sound [Eric Michaels] as Paul McCartney,…

election 2022

Calandriello announces Biking the 17th District on Sunday

From staff reports Daniel Calandriello, the Democratic nominee for the Cook County Board 17th District, announced a “Biking the 17th District” event from Elk Grove Village to Orland Park on Sunday to raise awareness of the Cook County Forest Preserve. Calandriello, of Orland Park, plans to bike several trails located within the Cook County Forest…

Bob Krusza shows off his 1964 Chevy Impala SS at Thursday night's Auto Show. (Photo by Steve Neuhaus)

Willow Fest 2022

Willow Springs Willow Fest will take place through Sunday at Willow Springs Village Center, 1 Village Circle, Willow Springs (corner of Archer Avenue and Willow Springs Road). Hours are 4-11 p.m. Friday, 1-11 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday. Special needs hours 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Free parking. Free shuttle service…

CRR NH Harmony Restaurant House Ad
SWNH Ameri Corp House Ad