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Friend Calls Retired CPD Officer Richard Haljean 'A Policeman's Policeman,' Calls On Driver Who Hit And Killed Him To Surrender

CHICAGO (CBS) -- As police continued their search Friday night for the hit-and-run driver who struck and killed a retired Chicago Police officer in Edison Park, a friend remembered the officer's passion for the job.

As CBS 2's Charlie De Mar reported, retired Officer Richard Haljean was a decorated veteran, serving as a Chicago Police officer for nearly three decades.

"He was a policeman's policeman," said Bobby Drell.

Drell is also a retired CPD officer, and worked alongside Haljean for years.

"He also recently suffered from a crippling disease called Huntington's disease, and forced him to retire early from CPD," Drell said.

Haljean retired in 2020, and got together with his CPD family for a retirement party in November.

Now, the horrific way in which Haljean's life ended has left Drell appalled.

"The way he was killed bothers me," Drell said. "Hit and run? Someone hit him, struck him, and left him to die?"

Haljean was crossing Touhy Avenue near Oriole Avenue close his home in the Edison Park neighborhood Thursday night, when police say a Jeep hit him and kept going.

Haljean was pronounced dead at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge. He was 57.

"Please turn yourself in — you know, everyone makes mistakes - but please turn yourself in," Drell said. "Now there's three children without a father, and you know, it's not right. The police family is totally outraged."

Chicago Police are now actively searching for the man who killed one of their own.

"Our condolences to the family," police Supt. David Brown said earlier Friday.

"Everybody in the Police Department has a hole in their heart losing Ricky, because he was such a genuine, kind police officer," added Drell.

As police continue to work this case, friends are working to set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money for Haljean's kids.

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