Saturday, May 22


Illinois honors Illinois State Police Officer, Telecommunicator and Forensic Scientist of the Year     Send a link to a friend

[MAY 22, 2004]  SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced Illinois State Police Officer, Telecommunicator and Forensic Scientist of the Year award winners on May 17. During the department's annual awards ceremony, Trooper Joseph J. Savitch of District 17, LaSalle, was named Officer of the Year and Ms. Jennifer L. Dixon of District 7, Rock Island, was named Telecommunicator of the Year. Mr. Timothy A. Tripp, of the Forensic Science Center at Chicago, was presented with the first-ever Forensic Scientist of the Year Award.

"The state of Illinois thanks these men and women of the Illinois State Police for their hard work, dedication to the job and for risking their own personal safety to protect others," Gov. Blagojevich said.

Since June 2001, when Officer of the Year recipient Trooper Joseph Savitch began his career with the Illinois State Police, he has maintained his commitment to the department and the standards expressed in the oath of office. His personal dedication is consistently reflected in exceeding his strategic performance goals and in his high activity levels. On Oct. 4, 2003, Trooper Savitch was involved in a critical incident that threatened the life of a fellow officer. His quick analysis and response to the situation kept his fellow officer alive. Trooper Savitch did not hesitate or question his instincts and displayed exceptional bravery while responding to a life-or-death situation. His exemplary leadership abilities, high productivity and outstanding contributions to the Illinois State Police and his community are an example to all officers throughout the department.

Since joining the department in June 2000, Telecommunicator of the Year Jennifer Dixon has displayed a positive attitude, interpersonal and problem-solving skills, ability to adapt to change, initiative, and dedication to officer and public safety. During 2003, Ms. Dixon was involved in three significant incidents. She was diligent and used her knowledge and the resources available to her to assist the officers. Her calm and professional demeanor during these incidents assisted the officers at the scene and is an example of her everyday performance. Ms. Dixon serves as an excellent representative for all Illinois State Police telecommunicators.

During the past year, Forensic Scientist of the Year Timothy Tripp has raised the bar for the Forensic Science Center at Chicago. During a time when the laboratory was dealing with multiple vacancies, he filled many gaps. In addition to his normal duties, he volunteered to be an acting group supervisor for two months. He served as the supply team leader, chair of the Chemistry Section Advisory Committee and as a key member of the instrument maintenance advisory team. His initiative, troubleshooting skills and follow-through are apparent to the staff of the laboratory. He is an exceptionally genuine individual who accepts full responsibility for accomplishing any and all goals under his direction.

Other awards presented to Illinois State Police personnel during the ceremony:

--Sgt. Timothy A. Hodge and Trooper Timothy E. Brown, District 12 officers, were awarded the department's Medal for Valor for risking great injury to themselves in order to awaken guests at the Lincoln Lodge Motel to alert them of a fire that ultimately destroyed the motel and claimed two lives on Aug. 27, 2003. If not for their heroic efforts, other guests would have perished in the fire.

--The Medal for Valor was awarded to Master Sgt. Marc B. Melvin and Troopers John R. Hartsock, Jimmy G. Huls and Leslie H. Vancil, all from District 13, DuQuoin, for their efforts during the derailment of a train carrying several tankers of hazardous materials on Feb. 9, 2003, in Tamaroa. The officers responded to the emergency scene and acted quickly to ensure public safety and to contain and control the burning fires of hazardous materials.

--On Oct. 4, 2003, District 17 Trooper Chad Broyles initiated a traffic stop of a vehicle with two male occupants. When the driver fled on foot, Broyles pursued and tackled him to the ground. When the suspect managed to disarm Trooper Broyles and threatened to kill him, Trooper Joseph Savitch arrived at the scene, observed the struggle and fired his service weapon once, striking the suspect. Trooper Savitch's quick analysis and response to the situation prevented a potential tragedy for a fellow officer. Both officers were awarded the Medal for Valor.

--Michael R. Putzek of the Southern Illinois Forensic Science Lab was awarded the Medal for Honor for his actions on Dec. 5, 2003, during a basketball game at the Carbondale Community High School. After witnessing a brief altercation involving two males and resulting in gunfire, Putzek was able to assist the principal by immobilizing the suspect until police arrived. Putzek took immediate action without regard for himself and with full knowledge that the suspect could still have a weapon.

--District 14 Trooper James T. Adkisson was awarded the department's Lifesaving Medal for an incident that occurred on Oct. 31, 2002, while he was off duty. Trooper Adkisson observed an individual run out of a building and kneel down next to a person on the ground who appeared to be having a seizure. After calling 911, Adkisson determined the victim was in cardiac arrest and began CPR until an ambulance arrived. Due to Trooper Adkisson's quick actions, the victim was revived.


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--Jennifer Griffin and Tammy Moore, Communication Services Bureau telecommunicator call-takers, received the Lifesaving Medal for their efforts in saving the life a suicidal subject. After receiving a call from a St. Paul, Minn., resident who had been online in a private chat room with a female subject he believed was attempting to commit suicide, Ms. Griffin and Ms. Moore were able to determine the subject's location and contacted the Chicago Police Department. Due to their determination, persistence and excellent job performance, the subject received emergency medical assistance.

--On April 12, 2003, District 20 Trooper Sean T. Ramsey arrived on the scene of a serious traffic crash and discovered an unconscious driver who had been partially ejected through the windshield and sustained severe head injuries. The driver's lips had started to turn blue. Trooper Ramsey, with the assistance of another motorist, repositioned the driver to enable him to breathe until emergency medical services arrived. Trooper Ramsey was awarded the Lifesaving Medal.

--The Lifesaving Medal was awarded to District 9 Master Sgt. Roger L. Hayden, District 20 Sgt. Robert Bruce Ivers, District 9 Trooper Kenneth D. Thomas III and District 20 telecommunications supervisor Leslie D. Ivers for their efforts on Oct. 9, 2003, to revive a heart attack victim. Using an automated external defibrillator and performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation, these Illinois State Police employees with their collective efforts were able to save the individual.

Other Officer of the Year nominees

Division of Operations

Trooper Troy M. Layne, District 1

Trooper Ryan D. Schramka, District 2

Trooper Michael L. Roache, District Chicago

Trooper Chadd A. Brody, District 5

Sgt. Steven D. Simons, District 6

Trooper Jason L. Dickey, District 7

Trooper Daniel E. Williams, District 8

Trooper Joseph R. Kink, District 9

Trooper Theodore J. Rhodes, District 10

Trooper Brian Ropac, District 11

Trooper Todd E. Zeigler, District 12

Trooper Jimmy G. Huls, District 13

Trooper Jason W. Elswick, District 14

Trooper Sergio Ortiz Jr., District 15

Trooper Eric D. Paulsen, District 16

Trooper Christopher R. Boyett, District 18

Trooper Nathan A. Douglas, District 19

Trooper Brian D. Anderson, District 20

Trooper John G. Dittmer, District 21

Trooper Keith M. Gilley, District 22

Special Agent Gilberto G. Gutierrez, Zone 1

Special Agent Paula R. Vercillo, Zone 2

Trooper Patrick J. Callaghan, Zone 3

Special Agent Joseph A. Spidle, Zone 4

Sgt. Greg S. Lindemulder, Zone 5

Special Agent Dave Fort, Zone 6

Special Agent William "Chad" Brown, Zone 7

Sgt. David W. Carter, Division of Forensic Services

Sgt. Stuart Weyforth, Division of Internal Investigation

Other Telecommunicator of the Year nominees

Connie S. Grenoble, District 1

Dennis C. Lee, District 2

Beth M. DiVirgilio, District Chicago

Cheryl A. Patrick, District 5

David C. Melvin, District 6

Peggy J. Cooper, District 8

Sarah B. Rickey, Springfield Communications Center

Cheryl A. Miles, District 10

Lisa L. Mojzis, District 11

Tracey L. Schultz, District 12

Yvonne M. Murray, District 13

Betsy L. Williamson, District 14

Ted Kruczek, District 15

Dana M. Dillard, District 16

Pamela Kromm, District 17

Cher N. Thomas, District 19

Tonya B. Main, District 20

Susan H. Ratliff-Thomas, District 21

Sharon L. Moore, District 22

Other Forensic Scientist of the Year nominees

Paula J. Cardosi, Springfield Forensic Science Laboratory

Katherine A. Davis, Joliet Forensic Science Laboratory

Thomas E. Gamboe Jr., Metro-East Forensic Laboratory

Patrick J. Powers, Rockford Forensic Science Laboratory

[News release from the governor's office]

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