By Dermot Connolly
Kenneth Malkowski, a veteran law enforcement officer, was sworn in to a part-time position as a crisis intervention officer with the Chicago Ridge Police Department at the Dec. 17 Village Board meeting.
Malkowski, 65, who lives in Chicago Ridge, will be coordinating the Peer Support/Crisis Intervention Program for the police department, fire department, and other employees. He will be available to assist police officers or other first responders dealing with job-related issues such as stress or suicidal thoughts.
“It is not just for the police department. It is for all village employees,” Malkowski stressed when his hiring was first approved at the Oct. 22 Village Board meeting.
In addition to having a 30-year career with the Chicago Police Department, he also served as a sergeant on the Willow Springs Police Department, Malkowski is a trained crisis-intervention counselor, and co-chairs the Chicago Police Survivors, an organization that counsels police officers injured in the line of duty. He has owned a private security firm, and is a former federal anti-terrorism officer working with the Transportation Security Administration as well.
“You never know when you might have a situation, when having a gentleman with the skills that Mr. Malkowski has will be necessary,” said Mayor Chuck Tokar at the meeting in October.
Praising Malkowski’s credentials, the mayor said, “He has the knowledge and experience. He has been in their shoes, he has done the job and done it well. He can provide the peer support they need.”
“In today’s day and age, considering what police have to deal with…It’s a stressful job, a dangerous job. It has happened all over the country, and in Bridgeview, Oak Lawn, and Chicago Ridge, too,” said the mayor.
“It isn’t going to be an everyday thing, an eight-hour day. But it will be helpful that he lives in Chicago Ridge,” said Tokar, noting that Malkowski has two daughters who attend local public schools.
“I will be available at any time,” he said.
“As a police suicide survivor, I know how important this is. I am delighted to have you on board for our officers,” Trustee Deb Pyznarski told Malkowski. Her husband is Police Chief Rob Pyznarski,
“Twenty years ago, my uncle killed himself with his gun in his squad car in Oak Lawn,” she explained.
Trustee Ed Kowalski pointed out that Malkowski offered his services to the village.
“I want to thank you for coming to us and volunteering to do this. I want to thank you for stepping up,” the trustee told Malkowski at the meeting in October.