Is Tiffany Van Dyke prepared?
As the wife of Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke — who is on tenterhooks awaiting a verdict on whether her husband murdered 17-year-old Laquan McDonald on an October night in 2014, she tells Sneed: “I’d like to say I can handle anything that comes.”
“Life still would go on,” said Van Dyke, whose husband is charged with pumping 16 bullets into McDonald’s body — an incident that ultimately led to one of the highest-profile criminal jury trials in Chicago’s history and has the city bracing for a possible volatile aftermath.
“I’d still have to raise my two children. I would like to think I would try my hardest to move forward whatever the verdict is,” said Van Dyke, who describes herself a “strong human being with a very strong family and friendships to fall back on.”
“I’m doing okay as of right now, and hopefully there will be justice out there for my husband,” she said Thursday after closing trial arguments.
“I think [attorney] Dan Herbert and his team did a phenomenal job in regards to my husband,” she said. “I’ve had to do a lot of compartmentalizing in order to deal with everyday things and the tasks at hand. I go from being in husband mode to kids mode and then there is the prayer mode.
“I pray for my husband and my children and the city and the McDonald family and for all the other people in blue — the police officers — to stay safe.”
She also feels families of police officers should have help transitioning effectively into the reality of a police officer’s life, which includes trauma as well as heroism.
“Is any family really prepared; does everybody really know what being a police officer’s wife or child really means?” Sneed asked Tiffany Van Dyke.
“He was in the police academy when we got married. A lot of times we are left behind while our spouses are doing their jobs. Being a policeman’s wife is a very different thing. There is a lot they don’t talk about. Only another policeman’s wife gets it. There is a feeling you get after a while . . . a feeling you learn not to ask questions. You know they are doing the right thing, but you follow blindly.”
Tiffany Van Dyke, who is also a fitness instructor, feels a police officer’s family needs help in other ways. “There should be preparation for the wives and the children, because moms are usually left with answering the questions of children about their parents,” she said.
“Maybe the police department should get involved. It would be a big step for them. I wouldn’t mind being involved in the future with something like that and help in any way possible. Kids would benefit from that kind of help.
Late Thursday afternoon, the Van Dykes were notified by officials at a school attended by one of their daughters that several of the students appeared to be attempting to confirm her identity and taking pictures. “This could be a classic example of the need for some pre-training for both children and the families,” Tiffany Van Dyke said.
“Since the trial, I have made sure my husband knows where I am even when we are separated in the courtroom. I give him a kiss and tell him I love him.”
Sneedlings . . .
Condolences to the family of former Chicago Fireman Robert Dubberke, who died recently and had been in service to the city for 33 years. . . . I spy: Pop sensation Justin Timberlake and wife Jessica “The Sinner” Biel spotted Wednesday at Fig & Olive in the Gold Coast. . . . Squad up: The entire Blackhawks team, including all-stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, dining at Steak 48 on Saturday night. . . . Toews and Hawks teammate Duncan Keith made their way to TAO Chicago’s Lotus Garden room to dance. . . . Ditto for Da Bears Sunday night. Khalil Mack, Roquan Smith, Kyle Fuller, Prince Amukamara, Adrian Amos and Danny Trevathan also at TAO. . . . Today’s birthdays: Grant Hill, 46; Brian Johnson, 71; Kate Winslet, 43, and happy belated birthday to former state senator William Marovitz, ageless and priceless.