by Allison Brown, Fox 8 Reporter
WILLOUGHBY, Ohio — Not one, but two law enforcement agencies are mourning the loss of Patrolman Jason Gresko.
He served as a full time officer for the Cleveland Clinic Police Department, and as a part time officer in Willoughby.
Friday night his police cruiser collided with a pick-up truck on Harmony Lane and then hit a tree, after police say Gresko was responding to assist a fellow Willoughby officer.
People who worked with Gresko say he was extremely dedicated to his job, and more importantly, was a loving husband and father. The words ‘protect’ and ‘serve’ were ones that Gresko lived by, according to colleagues.
During a press conference on Saturday afternoon at the Willoughby Police Department, grieving officers were pretty emotional about the tragedy.
“It’s rare that a police officer gets to serve two communities, and that’s exactly what Officer Jason Gresko did,” said David Easthon, Chief of the Cleveland Clinic Police Department.
Gresko was hired in Willoughby back in 2003, and had most recently worked as one of fifteen part time officers for the department. At the same time, he worked for the Cleveland Clinic Police Department full time. He was hired in Willoughby back in November of 2006.
“Jason, number one loved being a police officer, he served two police departments,” said Easthon. “He loved his family, especially his wife Sandy, and his two year old daughter Olivia,” he went on.
“Officer Gresko was very beloved member of our police department he was funny he had a great sense of humor, gave 110% every day, kept everybody on their toes,” said Easthon. “He just made us a better police department. He made us all better people too.”
On Harmony Lane, there’s already a memorial complete with flowers and flags. Gresko’s colleagues say they are not surprised by the overwhelming community support.
“As Chief Easthon said, top shelf.. loved what he did,” said Jack Beckwith, Chief of the Willoughby Police Department.
Both departments tell Fox 8 they are going to do anything to help the Gresko family during this difficult time.
The Willoughby Police Department has not lost an officer since 1955, and prior to that, 1919.