NORWOOD PARK — Congress has passed a measure to rename the United States Post Office in Norwood Park for slain Chicago Police Officer Joseph Cali, sending the bill to President Barack Obama's desk for his signature.
Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) had both proposed renaming the building at 6300 N. Northwest Hwy. following the bill's passage by the U.S. House in September. The senators announced in a joint statement Monday that the bill had cleared the upper chamber.
"Officer Cali was a true public servant, putting his life on the line in Vietnam and paying the ultimate sacrifice as a Chicago police officer at a tragically young age," Durbin said. Cali "could not be more deserving of this recognition and honor."
Cali, 31, an Edison Park resident, died in May 1975 after being shot in his head by a sniper. A veteran of the Vietnam War, Cali had been a police officer for two years.
U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Chicago) pushed for the House to adopt the measure earlier this year, calling Cali a "hero who dedicated his life to protecting the people of Chicago."
Cali, who was married and had two young daughters at the time of his death, was shot in his head with a rifle while writing a ticket outside the Henry Horner Homes, a public housing project on the West Side.
James Clark, then 17, was convicted of Cali's murder. He was paroled in 1986, records show.
Neva Cali, the officer's widow, said she hopes the bill becomes law — and boosts the morale of Chicago officers, which police union leaders have said is at an all-time low in the wake of the release of a dashcam video showing a police officer fatally shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times.
Renaming the post office also will show families of officers who are killed in the line of duty that their legacies will live on, no matter how much time has passed, said Carolyn Cali-Brick, who was less than 2 years old when her father was killed.
Once Obama signs the legislation, the post office will likely take about two months to replace its plaque, according to a spokeswoman for Durbin. Public officials will plan a dedication ceremony for the change-over.
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