Death Classification: Line of Duty Death

Agency: Chicago Police Department

Served: 19 years, 8 months, 12 days

Unit of Assignment / Detail: Office of the First Deputy Superintendent: Unit 544 - Detached Services (DS) - Uniformed Support Division

District of Incident (Present Day): Palos Heights, IL

Location of Occurrence: 12251 South 80th Avenue, Palos Heights, IL

Cause of Death: Illness - COVID-19

Age at Time of Death: 59


Date of Birth: 15 Oct 1962

Date of Appointment: 2001

Date of Incident: 08 Dec 2021

End of Watch: 08 Dec 2021

Date of Interment: 11 May 1834


Interment Details

 Cemetery: Holy Sepulchre Cemetery - Alsip, Illinois
 Grave Location: Grave 9, Lot 11, Block 7, Section 18
 Interment Disposition: Burial


Memorial Details

Superintendent’s Honored Star Case: Panel # D-11

Gold Star Families Memorial Wall: Panel # 26

Illinois Police Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 5, Line 33

National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel # 53-W: 34

Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed



 Military Service: Unknown


Incident & Biographic Details

Police Officer James R. Svec, Jr., Star #16713, aged 59 years, was a 19 year, 8 month, 12 day veteran of the Chicago Police Department, assigned to Unit 544 – Detached Services (DS) – Uniformed Support Division.

On November 14, 2021, Officer Svec was on duty and fell ill, leaving work early. The next day Officer Svec was placed on the “Medical Roll” for flu-like symptoms after he began experiencing minor symptoms of COVID-19. He would soon test positive for COVID-19 and continue quarantine at his residence. With his symptoms worsening, he went to Northwestern Medicine Palos Hospital, located at 12251 South 80th Avenue, Palos Heights, IL, and was admitted for bilateral covid pneumonia and remained there until his death on December 8, 2021.

Officer Svec worked in the Command Post for the Mayor’s Detail and throughout his shifts, he would have to interact with the public exposing himself to many who may have been infected with COVID-19. As a result, the Chicago Police Department has classified Officer Svec’s death as Line of Duty. Officer Svec was the fifth Chicago Police Officer to die in the line of duty from COVID-19.

Police Officer James R. Svec, born October 15, 1962, received his Probationary Appointment to the Chicago Police Department on March 26, 2001, attended the Jackson Street Police Academy, and was issued Star #16713. On January 12, 2004, he was issued Police Officer Star #16607, after reporting his previous star lost. On January 16, 2004, he was reissued Police Officer Star #16713 after it was found. He earned 2 Department Commendations, The 2019 Crime Reduction Award, The 2009 Crime Reduction Award, The 2004 Crime Reduction Award, The NATO Summit Service Award, 1 Presidential Election Deployment Award, 11 Honorable Mentions and 4 Complimentary Letters during his career.

Officer Svec was waked at Lawn Funeral Home located at 7909 State Road, Burbank, IL. His funeral mass was held at St. Albert the Great Catholic Church located at 8000 Linder Avenue, Burbank, IL. He was laid to rest on December 16, 2021 in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, 6001 West 111th Street, Alsip, Illinois. His grave is located in Grave 9, Lot 11, Block 7, Section 18.

Officer Svec was a member of the Fraternal Order of Police. He was survived by his ex-wife, Beth; daughters: Chelsea, Samantha and Sydney and siblings: Joey, Sherri and Tammy Sharpe. He was preceded in death by his parents, James and Joanne.

On September 7, 2023, Officer Svec’s star was retired by Interim Superintendent Fred L. Waller and enshrined in the Superintendent’s Honored Star Case, located in the lobby at Chicago Police Headquarters, 3510 South Michigan Avenue.