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Martwick Challenger O’Toole the Choice for Democrats in Illinois 10th District Senate Race

Because Robert Martwick is a follower, not a leader.

May 15, 2016, began as many others for Officer Dan O’Toole. How it ended was markedly different than he had expected, but in a city full of lurking threats, hostile gangs, and nightmare scenarios, it was a confrontation for which he was fully prepared. When a routine traffic stop turned into a violent struggle in which he was stabbed with a knife, O’Toole and his colleagues swiftly overcame and subdued his attacker. An encounter from which he spent seven months recovering, for his actions overtaking his assailant, O’Toole was awarded his second Chicago Police Blue Star Award. His second serious injury suffered while on duty, O’Toole had been shot seven years earlier while serving a search warrant in the south side Roseland neighborhood. A man familiar with hazards on Chicago’s streets, in between sustaining two severe injuries while on duty, O’Toole earned one of his three Lifesaving Awards for destroying a pit bull which was mauling an Englewood Prep student in 2013. A story which captured local attention, O’Toole witnessed the animal on top of 16-year-old Tyrell Henry, in the act of mangling the young boy. Recognizing the urgency for decisive action, O’Toole removed his service weapon and put down the attacking animal without inflicting harm on the student. That the child survived the ordeal is attributed to Sergeant O’Toole’s deft actions.

“I say thank you for saving my son’s life”

Over his long career with the Chicago Police Department (CPD), O’Toole has shown himself to be a tireless and meticulous crime fighter. A man with an enlightened mind, involved with creating solutions to complicated problems, and aiming for the common good, O’Toole is now wagering his entire career, past, present, and future, on the principle he is best suited to represent 10th District residents in the Illinois Senate. A challenge to the rosy-eyed vision of life in Springfield being peddled by incumbent Robert Martwick, O’Toole’s primary race to unseat Martwick rests with the tenet Democrats of all stripes must acknowledge and accept Mr. Martwick is an experiment which failed. A man with great difficulty keeping his word, Mr. Martwick publicly stated at a meeting of 38th Ward Democrats earlier this year he would decline supporting any motion submitted by the Cook County Democratic Party to endorse Kim Foxx for re-election as Cook County State’s Attorney. However, in an astonishing reversal at the Party’s closed-door slating meeting held over August 15–16, 2019, Martwick excitedly raised his hand in support of the motion to endorse Foxx. Hardly a surprising gesture for the Illinois state senator who doubles as a practicing property tax appeals attorney in Cook County, Martwick is familiar with betraying constituents in the interest of indulging his political allies. In a particularly painful deception, when in 2017 residents of the 45th Ward petitioned Martwick to intervene on their behalf to halt former alderman John Arena’s plan to build a seven-story subsidized housing unit in the heart of the Jefferson Park neighborhood, Martwick ignored homeowners and refused to take a stand on the matter. A neutral position Martwick claimed he took based on his “principle” zoning issues were outside of his mandate as a member of the Illinois House, his non-action occurred even in view of the fact a sizable portion of his constituents resided in the community. In other words, Martwick’s inertia was just more business as usual in Cook County’s corrupt political culture.

Born and raised in suburban Lombard, O’Toole entered the United States Marine Corps (USMC) upon graduating from high school 1992. Following completion of basic training, O’Toole was posted to Twentynine Palms Base and attached to 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Division. While operating from Twentynine Palms, O’Toole was assigned squad leader in his infantry platoon, eventually achieving the rank of corporal and becoming a member of the USMC’s Victor Unit, an elite formation designated as the Corps’ global first-response combat unit. Recognized for his effectiveness in leading troops and commendably carrying out duties, O’Toole was honored with several leadership and achievement decorations prior to his honorable discharge in 1996.

Abandoning Boston and a brief career in medical sales to return to Chicago to care for his ailing father, O’Toole embraced a nobler aspiration and forged a career with the Chicago Police Department (CPD). A man with the perfect qualifications for law enforcement, in his two decades with the CPD, O’Toole has undertaken an array of responsibilities and has served in police districts throughout the city, often in communities in which random cruelties and violence are commonplace. First serving with Bureau of Patrol in the 15th District, O’Toole was then assigned with the 15th District Gang Team. A role in which he liaised with the Gang Intelligence Unit, O’Toole’s responsibilities included formulating strategies to identify, locate and apprehend gang members active in the sale and distribution of narcotics and illegal weapons. While serving with the 15th District Gang Team, O’Toole worked alongside federal officials as a member of Project Safe Neighborhood Gun Team, a groundbreaking, national anti-crime initiative created to prosecute violent organizations and federal firearm offenses in the 11th and 15th Districts. Distinguishing himself with Project Safe Neighborhood, O’Toole shifted to Area 5’s Gun Team, a role in which he frequently collaborated with federal authorities to bring an end to the gang dominance on Chicago’s West Side. Often working jointly with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), O’Toole took part in or orchestrated hundreds of search warrants which resulted in the arrests of innumerable gang members or suspected criminals and netted hundreds of illegally owned guns.

Recognized for his competence while serving with the Department’s Gang and Gun Teams, O’Toole was assigned to the Narcotics Section of the CPD’s Bureau of Organized Crime in 2007. Serving in the role between 2007–2012, O’Toole was a member of the Area Two Anti-Violence Task Force and executed over one thousand search warrants. Similarly, while attached to the Area Two Anti-Violence Task Force, O’Toole played a vital role in obtaining information which led to the arrest of a suspect in a string of bank robberies and murders who had been profiled on America’s Most Wanted and was sought by the FBI. As well, O’Toole led the investigation in the arrest of a Gangster Disciples top lieutenant whose removal from the streets crippled the gang’s nefarious activity, yielded over a dozen illegal weapons, and the seizure of massive quantities of illegal drugs.

Promoted sergeant in 2012, O’Toole returned to Bureau of Patrol, requesting assignment to the Englewood District. Within months, O’Toole was then recruited to lead 762 Tactical Team, a police formation committed to serving search warrants aiming to ensnare Englewood’s violent criminals and gang members, and place a choke hold on the movement of illegal guns and drugs. Returning to active duty after recovering from stab wounds, O’Toole re-joined the Bureau of Organized Crime in 2017, and since has fulfilled the duty of supervisor with the citywide Anti-Violence Task Force, bringing order to the mayhem which dominates Chicago’s south and west sides. In the course of performing his obligations over two decades, O’Toole has earned over 300 awards, including two Department Blue Star Awards and two Department Awards of Valor. In addition to those high honors, O’Toole has earned three Lifesaving Awards, the Fraternal Order of Police Award of Valor, and six Department Commendations. For excelling at police work, O’Toole has also been twice honored as the Department’s Officer of the Month, and been recognized by the ATF for his devotion to law enforcement.

A married father of four, O’Toole is active at his parish, Saint Paul of the Cross in Park Ridge, where he assists in the liturgy as a Eucharistic minister and usher. O’Toole also serves the community as a youth basketball coach with the Chicago Park District and addresses high school students throughout the city and suburbs on career choices. O’Toole holds a degree in Marketing from the University of Illinois at Chicago. For his expertise in the execution of search warrants, Sergeant O’Toole instructs young recruits and local law enforcement personnel on the procedures involved with the execution of search warrants.

[Chicago Tribune]

Written by

Florian is a writer, speechwriter, and researcher living in Chicago. Contact me at: FlorianSohnke@gmail.com

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