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'A cop's cop': Cary husband, father of 2, Palatine police officer dies of brain cancer

Mark D. Dahlem
Mark D. Dahlem

As a police officer, Mark D. Dahlem was known as a cop’s cop.

As a man, husband, father and friend fighting brain cancer, he was known as a fighter with a powerful spirit.

In 2017, when doctors diagnosed the Palatine police officer from Cary with brain cancer, Dahlem was the first guy to calm the worries of his loved ones.

“He knew it was going to be one heck of a journey,” said Palatine Police Chief Alan Stoeckel. “He didn’t want people to worry about him.”

Dahlem died Tuesday. He was 48.

His 23 years as a police officer left a deep impression on the community. 

“Mark represented all that is good and honorable in the law enforcement profession,” Stoeckel said.

Dahlem left behind a wife, Kimberly; two children, Abigail and Jack; a brother, Paul; and a mother, Janet Beguin. 

Stoeckel and more than 50 police officers visited Dahlem the Friday before he died to honor him with a retirement plaque.

Dahlem served from 1995 to 2019. During that time, he held a number of jobs inside the department: patrol officer, field training officer, juvenile officer, Fremd High School liaison and crime scene technician.

Stoeckel wrote a reflection on Dahlem’s career. The text was included on his plaque.

“Throughout his career, Mark’s been known as a solid cop’s cop,” the chief wrote. “Highly respected by his peers and those he served in the community, both officers and supervisors knew they could depend on Mark. ... He serves as a friend and informal leader to many, which is a rare quality in law enforcement.”

A highlight of Dahlem’s life happened during his assignment at Fremd High School, where he worked as the school resource officer.

“Mark recognized the importance of building long-lasting relationships with students and school staff,” Stoeckel wrote. “One such relationship led to Mark meeting a school counselor, who eventually became the love of his life and his better half.”

The funeral service is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Holy Family Catholic Church, 2515 W. Palatine Road in Inverness.

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