CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — “He was a great brother. He took us places, did things with us. I remember as a little kid him reading books to me and stuff,” said Joe Oberheim. Joe said he always looked up to his brother Chris.
“I wanted to be like him. We played a lot of the same sports. Just following in his footsteps,” said Joe. Following those footsteps even influenced the direction of Joe’s career. He says Chris is the reason he decided to become a police officer.
“He would always tell me Hey be a police officer and I did ride along in champaign and saw what they did, it influenced me to be a police officer,” said Joe.
It’s a decision Joe’s wife Chelsea says she was happy to support. “We had a conversation and that was his dream and so I would never stop him from doing what he wanted to do,” said Chelsea.
Chelsea said she’s always known the risks involved with being an officer, but her fears grew after Chris died.
“When my husband leaves for work I make sure that I tell him to be careful and that I love him, but those words have so much more weight now than they did before May 19th,” said Chelsea.
She said she has always trusted her husband’s training and judgment, but now things are just different. “I’ve realized that that doesn’t matter because Chris had all of those things as well. He had so much more experience. He was a wonderful police officer. He had a wonderful way of speaking to people and deescalating situations as well and that did not change anything,” said Chelsea.
Joe says he and Chris never really talked about the dangers of being a police officer. He says it’s something all officers know is part of the job, it’s an unspoken requirement of wearing the badge. “We know going into it there’s a chance you might not make it home at the end of the day. We hope we do. We do everything we can to stay safe. We know the risk involved with it,” said Chelsea.
It’s a risk even adults struggle to fully comprehend. But through the lens of a 9-year-old, words can’t express fear and sadness. As demonstrated by Joe and Chelsea’s son Landen, Chris’ nephew.
“When he actually told me I just felt in shock,” said Landen.
Landen says his favorite memories with Chris were when he was showing him how to hit and throw a baseball. “He’s a hero and we always should remember him of not a cop but a hero, and somebody who is very good at baseball and softball and someone who is nice to others,” said Landen.