Hero Down: Illinois State Police Lt. Rich Kozik Suddenly Dies On-Duty
Tinley Park, IL – Illinois State Police (ISP) Lieutenant Rich Kozik died on Tuesday, after he suffered a medical emergency while on-duty.
Lt. Kozik, 59, was transferred to a hospital for medical treatment at approximately 11 a.m., and was later pronounced dead, KWQC reported.
"Rich was not only a great leader, but a personal friend," ISP Director Leo Schmitz said. "[He] was respected and revered by many both inside and outside our Department. Rich will be remembered for his dedication to the Illinois State Police and living up to our motto: integrity, service and pride."
Lt. Kozik was a 19-year veteran of the force, and was serving as the Lieutenant of the District 15 Special Operations at the time of his death. He was responsible for oversight of the Motorcycle Unit, the Truck Enforcement Unit, and the Criminal Patrol Team.
“Lieutenant Kozik was the epitome of class, hard work, dedication, and charisma,” an ISP District 15 Facebook post read on Tuesday. “His presence within District 15 and within the Illinois State Police will be greatly missed by all.”
According to the Tinley Park Patch, Lt. Kozik joined the ISP in 1998. Approximately 20 years ago, he co-founded the Tinley Wish program, a local nonprofit which helped disadvantaged families during holidays.
Lt. Kozik was also an active member of the 100 Club, which was created to assist the families of first responders killed in the line of duty.
“Rich coordinated many events for the Club including Family Day and the First Responder Motorcycle Ride,” the 100 Club of Chicago wrote on their website. “Rich was also heavily involved in the Illinois State Police Heritage Foundation and was a strong advocate for the creation of its memorial wall to honor fallen members of the Illinois State Police.”
“Lieutenant Kozik will be deeply missed,” the 100 Club’s memorial continued. “His dedication to the law enforcement family was unparalleled, and his leadership of the ISP Motor Unit was admired by many.”
Lt. Kozik is survived by two sisters and a brother, the Tinley Park Patch reported.
He will be laid to rest on Feb. 12.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Illinois State Police Lt. Rich Kozik, both blood and blue. Godspeed, we will take the watch from here.
Thank you for your service.