"Every day, men and women in law enforcement put their own safety
and well-being on the line to keep the rest of us safe," Blagojevich
said. "These awards are a token of our sincere appreciation for
their commitment and courage."
Officer of the Year recipient David
Graham's dedication and commitment to highway safety in District 5
during 2005 were exemplary. During that time, Graham wrote more than
1,100 citations and written warnings in an effort to reduce crashes
and fatalities, increase occupant restraint use, and place unsafe
motor carrier drivers out of service. He was also instrumental in
curbing underage drinking in the area by working with local police
to develop intelligence information that resulted in numerous
arrests. Graham has consistently shown a high level of commitment by
striving to achieve department goals and objectives.
Illinois State Police Telecommunicator of the Year Candis
Thuringer, a 26-year veteran, still exhibits the same enthusiasm and
dedication to her job today as she did when she was a
telecommunicator trainee. Her experience helps her to maintain a
calm, professional demeanor even during the most stressful of
situations. This was clearly exemplified during a pursuit in which
speeds often reached more than 100 miles an hour. Realizing the
pursuit was traveling in the direction of a construction crew
working in the area, she notified them of the pursuit and advised
them to take safety precautions. In addition to her
telecommunication responsibilities, Thuringer routinely volunteers
to take on additional duties. Her work ethic is exemplary.
Forensic Scientist of the Year George J. Dabdoub has dedicated
his life to the continued excellence of the forensic science
services offered by the Illinois State Police. In addition to
carrying full casework responsibilities, Dabdoub has served as the
statewide training coordinator for the Trace Chemistry Section,
worked as the quality review coordinator, been a liaison to the
Joliet Police and Fire departments through the Combined Arson Task
Force Squad, repaired scientific instruments, volunteered on
laboratory committees, and routinely instructed police officers and
firefighters how to properly package evidence and how evidence is
analyzed. His experience and professional have been paramount in the
resolution of several high-profile cases involving criminal
"We're are fortunate today to recognize these individuals, both
ISP employees and those outside of the Illinois State Police, who
stepped up to help those in need," said Trent, the police director.
"They unselfishly and, oftentimes, without regard for their own
safety reached out to help others."
Awards presented to Illinois State Police personnel during the
ceremony include the following:
troopers Brent G. Nay and Brad A. Sprague were awarded the
department's Lifesaving Medal for administering CPR to a subject
who had been ejected from his vehicle on Dec. 23, 2004. Upon
their arrival at the crash site, the troopers were able to
relieve a civilian who had been administering CPR to the
unresponsive man. The officers continued resuscitation efforts
until the subject was transported to the hospital. The victim
later succumbed to his injuries.
On Feb. 11, 2005,
District 10 troopers Stephen R. Coady and Ryan K. Fuoss were on
patrol when they observed a vehicle traveling north in the
southbound lanes of a divided highway. After they stopped the
vehicle and approached the suspected DUI driver, he drove away
from the scene and continued north in the southbound lanes,
where he struck a delivery truck head-on, trapping him inside
his vehicle. As the troopers tried to extricate the driver from
the wrecked vehicle, it erupted into flames. After trying to
douse the flames with fire extinguishers, which failed, the
officers made another effort to extricate the victim, despite
the intense heat, smoke and flames. The troopers were finally
able to free the driver and remove him to a safe location.
Troopers Coady and Fuoss were awarded the department's Medal of
Honor for their lifesaving efforts.
officers Sgt. William E. Francis, trooper Curt A. Dykstra and
trooper Jason W. Wilson were awarded the department's Lifesaving
Medal for locating and providing emergency medical treatment to
a driver who drove off into a cornfield. On March 23, 2005, the
victim had been traveling with his two grandchildren from Iowa
City to Waterloo, Iowa, when he became lost and left the
roadway. The three occupants exited the vehicle and began
walking to get help, when the grandfather collapsed onto the
snowy ground. The grandchildren were able to continue back to
the road and flagged down a motorist who was able to notify
authorities. The officers were able to provide needed medical
attention to the victim until an ambulance arrived.
troopers Steven T. Bundy, John R. Gossett and Jimmy G. Huls were
awarded the Lifesaving Medal for performing CPR on a passenger
of a vehicle. On May 10, 2005, Huls observed a vehicle pull into
a truck weight-scale parking lot and an excited female exit the
car yelling that her mother had stopped breathing. While Huls
was retrieving emergency medical equipment from his squad, Bundy
called 911 and Gossett assessed the victim, who was unresponsive
and not breathing. The troopers started performing CPR until the
woman started breathing, but then she went into cardiac arrest a
second time. Again, the officers began performing CPR until she
started breathing on her own. After the ambulance service
arrived, the victim went into cardiac arrest a third time and
did not survive.
trooper Terry A. Woods received the Lifesaving Medal for
providing aid to a choking victim on May 17, 2005. While off
duty and eating lunch with his family, trooper Woods heard a
female choking and immediately began delivering two abdominal
thrusts, dislodging the obstruction, allowing the victim to
began to breathing normally again.
On May 5, 2005,
special agent John J. Nagel, who was off duty, recovering at
home from outpatient surgery, heard the sound of a car crash and
was the first to arrive at the scene. Upon his arrival he
noticed several critically injured subjects in a burning
vehicle. After calling for emergency assistance, he noticed two
of the occupants had suffered tremendous injuries and were not
conscious, while the third occupant was alive but trapped
inside. With assistance from local citizens, the two men were
extricated, while the third person had to be extricated using
the "jaws of life." Nagle was awarded the department's Medal of
Honor for his attempts to extricate the victims.
trooper Charles E. Bonifield was awarded the department's
Lifesaving Medal for resuscitating a victim who had overdosed on
cocaine on March 6, 2005.
Melissa L. Haas of
Region 1 was awarded the department's Achievement Medal for the
development, preparation, submission and maintenance of the
three Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority grants
that were used for the Electronic Recording of Homicide
Interrogations Project. The project was the result of the
Electronic Recording of Homicide Interrogations Act, signed by
the governor in 2003, which addressed intense scrutiny of
Illinois' capital punishment system.
[to top of second column]
officers Lt. Thomas J. Stehley and Master Sgt. Barry E.
Stricklin were awarded the department's Lifesaving Medal for
their efforts on Sept. 2, 2005, when they prevented a subject
from jumping off an overpass. The officers were able to talk to
the subject while getting close enough to pull him off the
guardrail and to safety.
District 11 Master
Sgt. Roger W. Hayes was awarded the department's Medal of Honor
for apprehending an armed, suicidal subject on July 23, 2005.
After responding to a report of a man with a gun, Hayes was able
to talk to the subject and subsequently rush him and take the
District 22 Sgt.
Nathan A. Eaton and trooper Greg A. Kilduff were awarded the
department's Medal of Honor for subduing an armed subject at the
scene of a domestic dispute on Aug. 18, 2005. After arriving at
the scene, Eaton located an intoxicated male suspect, who stated
he intended to commit suicide and, unknown to the officer, was
in possession of two concealed handguns. After negotiating with
the suspect, officers were able to convince him to relinquish
one of the handguns. The suspect then held the other gun under
his chin and began walking toward Kilduff, who ordered him
numerous times to stop. Kilduff then struck the suspect in the
face, grabbing the barrel of the handgun and knocking him to the
ground. The suspect fired one round from his pistol while
Kilduff was holding the muzzle, causing an abrasion to the
officer's hand. District 22 troopers Charles E. Bonifield and
Galen L. Cornett were awarded Department Commendations for their
actions after responding to the call.
Sharon S. White of
the Illinois State Police Academy was awarded the department's
Lifesaving Medal for performing the Heimlich maneuver on a
choking victim. On Oct. 6, 2005, as White ate lunch, another
diner began choking. After being alerted to the situation, White
was able to dislodge the obstruction from the man's airway and
provide medical attention until he was no longer in distress.
On April 30, 2005,
District Chicago trooper David Keltner was dispatched to the
scene of a multiple-vehicle crash on Interstate 94, where he
discovered a seriously injured 6-year-old passenger from one of
the vehicles. The officer was able to quickly assess the child's
injury and begin first aid. Keltner was awarded the department's
Lifesaving Medal for his quick and accurate course of
first-response treatment to the victim.
On Sept. 3, 2005,
District 15 trooper Jose Moreno responded to a call of a male
subject armed with a knife chasing another man across the
southbound and northbound lanes of I-294. After approaching the
pursuer, Moreno drew his weapon and ordered him to drop the
knife; the man ignored the order. The exhausted victim then
stopped running and was tackled to the ground, with his pursuer
attempting to stab him. Moreno acted without hesitation and
tackled the pursuer, saving the victim's life. Moreno was
awarded the department's Medal of Valor for his actions.
District 13 Master
Sgt. John C. Lewis was awarded the department's Medal of Honor
for his actions on Nov. 1, 2005, for apprehending a subject
during a home invasion and attempted sexual assault. After
responding to the scene of a 911 call with screaming in the
background, Lewis observed wet footprints leading to the rear
door. He then forcibly entered the screen door and made his way
toward the screams, where he located and apprehended the
On Sept. 27, 2005,
Illinois State Police Protective Services Unit officers John Day
and David Haidi responded to a medical emergency call at the
Subway restaurant in the James R. Thompson Center, where an
employee had collapsed and was unconscious. The officers began
performing CPR until they were able to get a faint breath and
pulse. The officers were awarded the department's Lifesaving
Medal for resuscitating the heart attack victim.
"It is indeed a pleasure to recognize these officers who, with
little regard for their own safety, place themselves in the line of
danger to protect and save others," said Trent, the Illinois State
Police director. "They didn't take the job to receive awards, and
tomorrow they'll return home to work their shift. But today, we
honor them for their commitment to duty."
Other Officer of the Year nominees:
Division of Operations
Trooper Troy M.
Layne, District 1
Trooper Chanto K.
Iverson, District 2
Trooper Steve M.
Loan, District Chicago
Trooper Jeffrey D.
Enderli, District 6
Sgt. Floyd M. Blanks,
Trooper Brian E.
Copple, District 8
Trooper Larry Gowdy,
Trooper Ryan K. Fuoss,
Trooper Bryant K.
Johnson, District 11
Trooper Ryan D.
Shoemaker, District 12
Trooper Paul W. Moak,
Trooper Jason W.
Elswick, District 14
Trooper David L.
Schneider, District 15
Trooper Kent L.
Walker, District 16
Sgt. James D. Lower,
Trooper William J.
Langheim, District 18
J. Campbell, District 19
Trooper Stephen M.
Schuwerk, District 20
Trooper John W.
Higginson, District 21
Trooper James M.
Wright, District 22
Special agent William
R. Kroncke, Zone 1
Special agent Jose
Lao, Zone 2
Special agent Jamal
A. Simington, Zone 3
Special agent Aaron
B. Fullington, Zone 4
Trooper Matt L.
McCormick, Zone 5
Special agent Karen
M. Gordon, Zone 6
Trooper Melvin J.
Brown, Zone 7
Sgt. Richard C.
Klimes, Operational Services Command
Sgt. Sean Cormier,
Sgt. Anthony J.
Heindel, Division of Forensic Services
Special agent Bradley
J. Maurer, Division of Internal Investigation
Other Telecommunicator of the Year nominees:
Springfield Communications Center
Other Forensic Scientist of the Year nominees:
Debra B. Minton,
Morton Forensic Science Laboratory
Tina S. Joyce,
Forensic Science Center at Chicago
Glenn D. Schubert,
Southern Illinois Forensic Science Centre
Alan D. Teschendorf,
Jennifer M. Wanat,
Westchester Forensic Science Laboratory
[Illinois State Police