Skokie police ‘hero’ promoted to sergeant
In 2009, Skokie Mayor George Van Dusen (left) congratulates then-Officer Timothy Gramins for his heroic actions in killing a bank robber who opened fire on him. | Allen Kaleta/ for Pioneer Press
Updated: April 1, 2013 6:13AM
“One of the bravest men ever to wear a Skokie uniform” is no longer Officer Timothy Gramins but Sgt. Timothy Gramins.
That description came from Skokie Mayor George Van Dusen Feb. 19 after Gramins officially was sworn in to his new position before the Village Board.
If anyone thinks the mayor’s description of Skokie’s newest sergeant was a bit hyperbolic, then they are not familiar with Gramins’ story from 2008.
On Aug. 25, 2008 — the birthday of Gramins’ son, by the way — the officer engaged in a rare life-and-death shoot-out with a dangerous bank robber on a quiet Lincolnwood street.
Driving alone that afternoon, Gramins pursued a bank robber down the Edens Expressway and into residential Lincolnwood when the suspect left his vehicle and opened fire on him.
In the end, Gramins exchanged dozens of bullets with the suspect before he was able to shoot and kill him.
Gramins became one of the few police personnel ever to be given the Chief’s Award of Valor, the highest award that can be conveyed upon a Skokie police officer.
“This is something not presented to police officers in our organization very frequently,” said Barry Silverberg, police chief at the time. “Probably since its inception it’s been awarded a dozen times.”
The recognition for Gramins, who was called a hero by many, kept coming.
The following May, he was chosen as one of the nation’s “top cops” in an emotional ceremony in Washington, D.C. He was also selected in 2009 to receive the prestigious Illinois Law Enforcement Medal of Honor.
That award is presented to law enforcement officers who have been killed or seriously injured in the line of duty or who have displayed “exceptional bravery and heroism while performing their duties as a law enforcement officer.”
The shoot-out, likely to be what Gramins is best remembered for, was not the only time he had an up-close encounter with a suspect on the run.
Just last year, he was briefly hospitalized after participating in the arrest of a man for possession of marijuana. The suspect struck Gramins in the head, knocking him from some stairs and injuring his hand.
Gramins has been with the Skokie Police force for nearly 20 years.
There wasn’t anyone in last week’s audience who disagreed with the mayor when he called Gramins’ promotion “much deserved” and emphasized his “rare kind of bravery.”