PARK FOREST, IL – The Park Forest Police Department is mourning the loss of one of its original police officers, Sergeant (ret’d) Lee H. Gericke, who passed away at the age of 94 years. Sgt. Gericke served his community for 30 years, beginning his career with the newly-formed PFPD in 1950, retiring in 1980.
During his long and distinguished career, Sgt. Gericke served his country as well. He served in the US Army overseas during the Korean War, attaining the rank of Corporal and being awarded the Bronze Star.
Despite retiring over four decades ago, Sgt. Gericke remained connected to his PFPD family, sending several letters as recently as 2020 in which he related stories of how police work was performed in Park Forest prior to the Police Department having radios, computers, cell phones, or even an official police station.
The original station was housed in a residence near 26th Street and Western Avenue, and on-duty Officers had to watch for a red light on the house or on a pole near the Downtown to know that they had a call for service.
Sgt. Gericke leaves behind a legacy of compassionate service that has helped shape the PFPD into the professional and dedicated force it is today.