By Dan Campana
The Illinois State Police announced Wednesday that one of its own, Lt. Rich Kozik, died after an on-duty medical emergency.
Kozik, who worked in Downers Grove-based District 15, suffered the unspecified emergency around 11 a.m. on Tuesday. He was transported to an area hospital where he later died, according to the state police.
ISP Director Leo Schmitz described Kozik as dedicated trooper who was the embodiment of the agency’s “Integrity, Service, Pride” motto.
“Rich was not only a great leader, but a personal friend,” Schmitz said. “Rich was a dedicated 19-year veteran who was respected and revered by many both inside and outside our department.”
Kozik served as District 15’s special operations lieutenant overseeing the motorcycle and truck enforcement units, as well as the criminal patrol team.
Information on visitation and funeral services were not immediately available.
Aside from his nearly two decades with the state police, Kozik also was the co-founder of Tinley Wish. The nonprofit organization – which started in 1996, the same year Kozik graduated with his cadet class – focused on helping Tinley Park families who faced difficult situations during the Christmas season, according to its website.
Tinley Wish posted a tribute on its website which said, “Rich Kozik was a genuine person with a heart of gold who wanted to make a difference.”