Death Classification: Performance of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 18 years, 0 months, 8 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: Bureau of Community Services - Senior Citizens Services Division: Unit 135 - Speakers Unit
District of Incident (Present Day): 010 - Ogden
Cause of Death: Illness - Cardiac Arrest
Age at Time of Death: 50
Date of Birth: 28 Jan 1938
Date of Appointment: 11 May 1970
Date of Incident: 19 May 1988
End of Watch: 19 May 1988
Date of Interment: 23 May 1988
Cemetery: St. Mary Catholic Cemetery - Evergreen Park, Illinois
Grave Location: Grave 5, Lot 10, Block 13, Section X
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-11
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 12
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 3, Line 43
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 18-W: 13
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: No Military Record Found
Incident & Biographic Details
Patrolman Helen P. Cardwell, Star #11815, aged 50 years, was an 18 year, 0 month, 8 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the Bureau of Community Services – Senior Citizens Services Division: Unit 135 – Speakers Unit.
On May 19, 1988, at approximately 10:30 a.m., Officer Cardwell was driving northbound on the 1500 block of South Sacramento Avenue. She was going to pick up her assigned squad car at the Area 4 Motor Maintenance Garage when she lost control of the unmarked pool vehicle and veered into oncoming traffic and into two trees on the opposite side of the road. Witnesses said that they did not see Officer Cardwell take any evasive action when her car swerved and there were no skid marks present at the scene. She was removed from the car by firefighters at 10:45 a.m. and transported to Mount Sinai Hospital where she was pronounced dead at 10:45 a.m. Doctors believe she may have suffered a heart attack or a stroke.
Officer Cardwell was waked at Donnellan Funeral Home located at 10045 Skokie Boulevard, Skokie, Illinois, her funeral mass was held at Queen of the Universe Catholic Church located at 7114 South Hamlin Avenue and she was laid to rest on May 23, 1988 in St. Mary Catholic Cemetery and Mausoleum, 3801 West 87th Street, Evergreen Park, Illinois. Her grave is located in Grave 5, Lot 10, Block 13, Section X.
Patrolman Helen P. Cardwell (nee Casey), born January 28, 1938, received her Probationary Appointment to the Department on May 11, 1970. She earned 1 Honorable Mention and 127 Complimentary Letters during her career. She began her career in the Youth Division before being transferred to the Neighborhood Relations Division where she served as one of the original members of the Officer Friendly Program in 1972. Later she was assigned to the Preventative Programs Division. When the speakers unit of the Bureau of Community Services: Senior Citizens Services Division was established in 1982, she became a member. Several times each day, Officer Cardwell would meet with the elderly to teach them the simple but crucial rules of crime prevention. She held a Bachelors, Masters and was working towards a Doctorate Degree at the time of her death.
Officer Cardwell was a member of the Fraternal Order of Police. She was survived by her husband Lawrence Killian, Sr. (CPD), age 53; son, Lawrence Killian, Jr., age 9 and brother, Daniel Joseph, Jr. On September 19, 1988, her husband, Lawrence, passed away from a heart attack while on duty.
On July 23, 2019, Officer Cardwell’s star was retired by Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson and enshrined in the Superintendent’s Honored Star Case, located in the lobby at Chicago Police Headquarters, 3510 South Michigan Avenue.