Oak Lawn police chief Michael Murray is excited and apprehensive about his new job.
“It feels like my first day on the job again,” Murray said. It is a big responsibility. If you’d told me in August of 1987 that I was going to be sitting here, as chief, I wouldn’t have believed it. I felt it was the next step I needed to go.”
Murray’s most memorable case was in 1999, when he was the lead officer on a robbery and homicide case. Two clerks were shot and killed at a liquor store at 90th Street and Cicero Avenue, and two customers were shot and survived.
“The offender was found in North Carolina, and he’s serving the rest of his life in jail,” Murray said. “That was my most memorable case, and I hope it stays that way.”
Murray said he hopes to bring more technology to the department. Murray wants his officers to have easier access to information on suspects in their squad cars, and may also look into plate readers in the future, which let officers scan license plates and learn if a car is stolen or if a driver’s license is suspended.
“You can never have too much information,” Murray said.
The job is serious, but Murray also has a more humorous side. On a shelf behind his desk is a statute of a pig dressed up like a police officer. It was a Christmas gift and pays homage to his favorite movie, “The Blues Brothers.” In the movie, John Candy’s character pretends to be a police officer, and the pig statue is on his desk. Another funny touch is the penholder on Murray’s desk: it’s made to look like a person being stabbed with a pen.
Murray said he was surprised when Village Manager Larry Deetjen told him he had gotten the job. Murray and four other Oak Lawn police officers had applied.
Murray attended Benedictine University, where he earned a degree in sociology with a criminology concentration. He has also attended the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command.
Murray will be officially sworn in at the May 28 Village Board meeting.