It wasn’t like Paul Bauer to keep people waiting.
So when the Chicago police commander didn’t show up at the scheduled time for a City Hall meeting to discuss ways to respond to crime at Northwestern University’s Streeterville campus, the five people waiting figured he had a good reason to be tardy.
“As we were waiting for him in the conference room, someone made the comment, ‘Paul Bauer is never late,’ ” recalled 2nd Ward Ald. Brian Hopkins, who along with 42nd Ward Ald. Brendan Reilly was set to meet with the 18th District commander. “And time ticked on, and we continued waiting, and then we heard there was a shooting incident next door.
“Someone else made the comment, ‘Well, we assume that if Cmdr. Bauer was getting out of the car in front of City Hall and heard the commotion, he would have responded to that before he would have come into the building for a 2 o’clock meeting with a couple of aldermen,’ ” Hopkins continued. “His priorities were always on the street, always public safety.
“We didn’t know how true that statement would be until about 20 minutes later when a staff person came in and passed us a note about what happened,” Hopkins continued.
Bauer, 53, a 31-year department veteran, had been fatally shot in an exterior stairway at the Thompson Center across from City Hall.
“We were shocked, and Ald. Reilly and I immediately left the room and went to Northwestern (Memorial) Hospital to stand vigil in the hope that he would pull through,” Hopkins said as he stood with Reilly outside City Hall on Wednesday, recalling both the meeting and praising Bauer as a cop, friend and family man.
Reilly, who represents much of downtown, said he talked to Bauer “every single day,” and on Tuesday the plan was to work with Northwestern University’s police chief on better ways to coordinate duties between the city and university police amid rising concerns about crime at the Streeterville campus. In October, a law school student was beaten and robbed at Superior Street and Fairbanks Court. Earlier this month, three teens were charged in an attempted carjacking outside a hotel.
“I wasn’t surprised for a second that he jumped in,” Reilly said of Bauer’s attempt to approach the suspect, who had drawn the suspicion of tactical teams. “That’s the kind of guy that Paul was. It’s a terrible loss. All of the neighborhood association leaders that he worked with are grieving today. It’s a really tough loss.”
“Being the man he was, he never hesitated,” added Hopkins, who said Bauer’s death tragically highlights a growing crime problem downtown.
“It involves things that have been happening in the Loop that were unthinkable not that long ago — open-air drug markets, armed violence, an offender wearing body armor and carrying a gun through the Loop to engage in drug sales. This is a real problem that’s happening around us right now. And Cmdr. Bauer was aware of it and knew it needed to be addressed,” Hopkins said.
But at a time of mourning for the first Chicago cop to fall in the line of duty since 2011, the two aldermen preferred to talk more about Bauer than the issue of downtown crime, figuring that can come later.
Hopkins praised Bauer as “a good family man, an all-around good man” who had a breadth of police experience, and rather than sit behind a desk, preferred to be “right there side by side with the rank and file.”
Hopkins said the loss of Bauer hit him on many levels, in part because he used to live in same Bridgeport neighborhood the commander lived and also because he knows grieving wife Erin Bauer, who works as a program coordinator for the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.
“We feel like we’re one big family, people who have worked for the city of Chicago in one capacity or another for long periods of time,” Hopkins said. “We have a feeling of camaraderie.”
Reilly, choking up and pausing midsentence, said that “when kids think about being cops when they grow up, they think about him, the example that he set.”
“I used to joke with him, to give him a hard time, I’d call him Cmdr. Clark Kent — privately of course — not just because he had dark hair and a chiseled jaw,” Reilly continued. “He was mild-mannered, very humble, and he went about his job in a quiet, determined way. I think he commanded a lot of respect for that. I think those qualities masked the fact that there was a superhero under that uniform.”
This news collected from :Source link