Police officer remembered for dedication to Lake Zurich, D.A.R.E program
Police officer Kristopher Zak, who retired from the Lake Zurich force in 2005, passed away unexpectedly last month. The 46-year-old served the village for 20 years, from 1985 to 2005. | Photo courtesy Lake Zurich Police Department
Updated: February 4, 2013 6:22AM
LAKE ZURICH — Retired Lake Zurich police officer Kristopher Zak, who served the village for 20 years, passed away unexpectedly Dec. 14.
Officer Zak was 46 years old and died from natural causes, Lake Zurich police Cmdr. David Bradstreet said.
The longtime Lake Zurich resident had served the department in several different capacities from 1985 to his retirement in 2005, including stints as the local Community Service and a D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) officer.
“What stands out is that he loved being a D.A.R.E. officer,” Bradstreet said. “His students would come up to him and thank him. He made a real impact on their lives.”
Lake Zurich Police Chief Patrick Finlon said Zak thrived as the local D.A.R.E. officer. In the role, Zak went to area schools to teach kids about the dangers of using drugs and alcohol. He held the position through 1999.
“The D.A.R.E. program didn’t go for long,” Finlon said. “So he was one of the few.”
Bradstreet added that Zak was one of the first motorcycle officers in Lake Zurich. He also was praised as a department leader with technology.
“He was a motorcycle officer when we first got our Harley Davidsons in 2000,” said Bradstreet, explaining that motorcycles were mainly used for traffic enforcement but were also used for parades and ceremonies.
Chief Finlon also expressed admiration for Zak’s dedication to public safety in Lake Zurich.
“He was a fire cadet before he became a police officer,” Finlon said.
Zak grew up in Lake Zurich, graduated from Lake Zurich High School and raised his family in town.
“Growing up, he wanted to be a Lake Zurich cop,” added Bradstreet.
According to the department, Zak began his career with the Lake Zurich force in 1985 as a tele-communicator. He graduated from the Illinois Police Training Institute in 1988. In 2005, Zak was granted an on-duty disability benefit.
“He loved Lake Zurich very much and he particularly loved being a D.A.R.E. officer,” said Connie Zak, Kristopher’s wife.