Death Classification: Line of Duty Death
Agency: Chicago Police Department
Served: 39 years, 8 months, 29 days
Unit of Assignment / Detail: Bureau of Operational Services - Patrol Division, Special Functions Group: Unit 050 - Canine Bomb Detection Unit
District of Incident (Present Day): Norridge, IL
Cause of Death: Aggravated Battery - Blunt Trauma
Age at Time of Death: 65
Date of Birth: 08 Sep 1932
Date of Appointment: 16 Feb 1958
Date of Incident: 13 Nov 1997
End of Watch: 14 Nov 1997
Date of Interment: 16 Nov 1997
Cemetery: Elm Lawn Cemetery - Elmhurst, Illinois
Grave Location: Unknown
Interment Disposition: Burial
Superintendent’s Honored Star Case:
Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 3
Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall:
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall:
Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed
Military Service: U.S. Army
Incident & Biographic Details
Canine Handler Frank Thomas Balzano, Sr., Star #10528, aged 65 years, was a 39 year, 8 month, 29 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to the Bureau of Operational Services – Patrol Division, Special Functions Group: Unit 050 – Canine Bomb Detection Unit.
On November 13, 1997, Officer Balzano was working as a part time security guard at the Harlem and Irving Plaza in Norridge. Officer Balzano attempted to break up a fight between two teenage girls when one of the girls, Amy Landers, 16, called out to her boyfriend, Zbigniew “Ziggy” Krzeckowski, age 16, for help. Krzeckowski punched the officer in the face causing him to fall to the ground and hit his head. Officer Balzano was transported to Resurrection Medical Center where he died the next morning on November 14, 1997.
Landers was arrested and charged with 1st degree murder. Krzeckowski was also arrested and charged as a juvenile with aggravated battery. In 2000, both Krzeckowski and Landers later pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter. Landers was sentenced to 3 years’ probation, including 1 year of intensive anger management counseling. Krzeckowski was sentenced to 4 years in prison.
Officer Balzano was waked at Olson Funeral Home located at 6467 North Northwest Highway, his funeral mass was also held at Olson Funeral Home. He was laid to rest on November 16, 1997 in Elm Lawn Cemetery, 401 East Lake Street, Elmhurst, Illinois.
Canine Handler Frank Thomas Balzano, Sr., born September 8, 1932, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on February 16, 1958. He was planning to retire in six weeks at the time of his death.
Officer Balzano served in the U.S. Army and was a veteran of the Korean War. He was also a member of the Fraternal Order of Police, a Master Mason and a Noble of the Medinah Shrine Temple member of the Black Horse Troop. He was survived by his wife, Jean; children: Cathy Zak, Daniel and Frank Thomas, Jr.; mother, Louise (nee Forsythe / Peters); siblings: Mary, Robert and William and grandchildren: Daniel Ebert-Balzano, Jason Zak and Michael Gentry Balzano. He was preceded in death by his father, Alexander.
Love you Dad and miss you and your wisdom. I pray you are with Jesus. Sorry for the problems I had when I was young and stupid and the problems I caused you and mom. I never realized how smart you were when I was young. Wish we had more time together. I will see you again in heaven. You always ment the best for us. You did the best you could do for your family.
Love, your son Dan