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  Illinois State Police News Release   

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Gov. Blagojevich honors Illinois State Police Officer, Telecommunicator and Forensic Scientist of the Year

Press Release Date: April 9, 2008    || Archived May 23, 2008
SPRINGFIELD – On behalf of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, Illinois State Police Director Larry G. Trent today announced the Illinois State Police Officer of the Year, as well as the Telecommunicator and Forensic Scientist of the Year award winners. During this year’s annual awards ceremony held in Springfield, Special Agent John Kaylor of Zone 4 Investigations was named Officer of the Year. Mr. Kenneth Williams of District 10, Pesotum, was named Telecommunicator of the Year. Mr. John Onstwedder of the Forensic Science Center at Chicago was presented with the Forensic Scientist of the Year Award.

"The men and women of the Illinois State Police are to be commended for their dedication to public safety and making Illinois communities a safe place to live," said Gov. Blagojevich. "These awards are a token of our sincere appreciation for their commitment and courage."

“The individuals we recognize today work tirelessly to protect and serve the citizens of Illinois on a daily basis,” said Director Trent. “We are grateful and honored for the unselfish acts they diligently perform which ultimately provides a better quality of life for all of us.”

As a member of Zone 4 Investigations’ Child/Sex Unit, Officer of the Year recipient Special Agent John Kaylor’s dogged persistence has put numerous sexual predators in prison for life. His tireless dedication has enhanced the quality of life for Illinois citizens and bolstered safety for the state’s most valuable and vulnerable resource, the children of Illinois. Agent Kaylor is considered the “go to” person in Zone 4 for crimes against children, and as a former Juvenile Probation Officer, he has unique insights into the criminal justice system, criminal psyche, and criminal culture. Building upon a solid patrol background, Agent Kaylor has evolved into one of the Department’s premier criminal investigators.

As a Latent Prints Examiner at the Forensic Science Center at Chicago, Forensic Scientist of the Year John Onstwedder was recognized for his exemplary dedication, initiative, commitment to quality, and leadership skills. He was the Latent Prints Examiner on the high profile Brown’s Chicken homicide case and spent many hours organizing the case file in preparation for court testimony. His testimony and Power Point presentation prevailed over the scrutiny of prominent defense attorneys and was praised by Chief Judge Vincent Gaughan as “the best fingerprint testimony he had ever witnessed.” The case ended with the successful prosecution of the defendant(s). Mr. Onstwedder also serves as the Statewide Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) coordinator.

Telecommunicator of the Year Mr. Kenneth Williams of District 10, Pesotum, is a four-year veteran of the Department who has used his computer knowledge to assist District 10 with the Illinois Wireless Information Network, Computer Aided Dispatch, and STARCOM21 communications applications for the district. He has also handled several critical 9-1-1 calls, including a domestic situation involving a knife, and a subject who witnessed his friend’s suicide. Telecommunicator Williams’ also displayed a professional demeanor while copying traffic between a Trooper who asked for help from another officer and didn’t get a response. After sensing a problem with the traffic stop, he sent assistance to the officer’s location.

The Purple Heart Medal is awarded to Illinois State Police personnel who, while in the performance of enforcement duties, are seriously injured or killed while encountering deadly force or “other actions” causing serious, life threatening injuries or death are eligible to receive a Purple Heart Medal. The eligible duties do not include accidental or reckless behavior by the officer. This year, the award was presented to:

  • Trooper Mary K. Huffman
  • Trooper Brian C. McMillan (posthumously)

The Medal for Honor is awarded to Illinois State Police personnel who perform a heroic act that, by its nature, results in saving a life, preventing a serious crime, or apprehending a person who committed a serious crime. The eligible act, while of a lesser degree than that required for the Medal for Valor, must nevertheless have been accomplished with distinction. This year’s honoree is:

  • Trooper Zachary O. Peters

The Illinois State Police Achievement Medal is awarded to agency personnel performing an outstanding act or acts that results in improved administration or operation, substantial savings in labor or operational costs, greatly enhances the mission of the ISP or brings great credit to the Department are eligible to receive the Achievement Medal. The act or acts must be because of performance beyond the requirements of the normal work assignment. They include:

  • Captain Dean S. Kennedy
  • Master Sergeant Mark G. Fritz
  • Sergeant Michael E. Britt

The Lifesaving Medal is awarded to Illinois State Police personnel who perform actions or who apply techniques that result in saving or sustaining a human life. Honorees include:

  • Sergeant Hanford E. Tanner
  • Sergeant William W. Deutsch
  • Trooper Derek M. Cowan
  • Trooper Dominick P. Falcone
  • Trooper Jarad A. Klint
  • Trooper Joseph J. Savitch
  • Trooper Louis A. Webster
  • Officer William Zeeh

The Illinois State Police Meritorious Service Medal is presented to agency personnel who have made truly outstanding achievements contributing to the efficiency and/or effectiveness of the Department by consistently performing their duties with outstanding skill, diligence, productivity, judgment, and responsibility. These achievements must be beyond the requirements of the normal work assignment. The following ISP personnel were honored:

  • Lieutenant Colonel Craig S. Allen
  • Mr. Dan Meske

The Director’s Award of Distinction is presented to any individual, agency, or group outside the Illinois State Police who gave extraordinary support and assistance to accomplish the goals of the Department. They include:

  • Mr. John Anderson, Tazewell County Highway Engineer
  • Special Agent Christopher Bayless, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives
  • Supervisory Assistant United States Attorney K. Tate Chambers, Central District of Illinois
  • Mr. Mike Chamness, Illinois Emergency Management Agency, Illinois Terrorism Task Force
  • Supervisory Special Agent Calvin C. Clayton, Retired, Internal Revenue Service
  • Coroner Dennis W. Conover, Tazewell County Coroner
  • Mr. James M. Graham, Manager, Ford Motor Company Fund
  • Supervisory Special Agent Gabriel Grchan, Internal Revenue Service
  • Parole Agent Wava Hauge, Illinois Department of Corrections
  • Sheriff Robert Huston, Tazewell County Sheriff
  • Special Agent Thomas Murphy, Federal Drug Enforcement Agency
  • Mr. Drew Scott, President, Tazewell County Youth Board
  • Mr. Bradley Seeman
  • Ms. Sara Sparkman, Tazewell County Health Department
  • Mr. Michael Stout, Director of Traffic Safety, Illinois Department of Transportation

Officers nominated for the ISP Officer of the Year Award must display a combination of the following qualifications and characteristics: outstanding contribution in the area of assignment; valor in the line of duty; exceptional knowledge and ability to complete job functions; overall productivity; civic contributions; and professional appearance and demeanor.

Other Officer of the Year nominees include:
Division of Operations
Trooper Troy M. Layne; District 1
Trooper Christopher C. Burke; District 2
Trooper Clare T. Pfotenhauer; District Chicago
Trooper Christopher J. Wilkes; District 5
Trooper Jeffrey D. Enderli; District 6
Trooper Jason L. Dickey; District 7
Trooper Luke E. Satterlee; District 8
Trooper Jon C. Clarke; District 9
Trooper Ray E. Sutton; District 10
Trooper Kristopher M. Gebke; District 11
Trooper Timothy W. Mehl; District 12
Trooper Craig E. Odom; District 13
Trooper Jason W. Elswick; District 14
Trooper Macharia K. Fortson; District 15
Trooper Jeffrey J. Thew; District 16
Sergeant Rolando A. Matos; District 17
Trooper Mark J. Gillock; District 18
Trooper Mark A. Zimmerman; District 19
Trooper Troy A. Rupert; District 20
Trooper Angela J. Kinstner; District 21
Trooper James M. Wright; District 22
Special Agent Wayne E. Ladd; Zone 1
Special Agent Kevin H. Winslow; Zone 2
Special Agent Richard L. Mullen; Zone 3
Special Agent Anthony D. Kestner; Zone 5
Trooper Sean W. King; Zone 6
Sergeant Kelly W. Hodge; Zone 7
Sergeant Isaiah D. Vega; Operational Services Command
Sergeant Vidal I. Panizo; Statewide Investigations
Sergeant Sara E. Cox; Training Academy
Trooper Rod A. Scherpe; Crime Scene Services
Special Agent Larry J. Martinez; DII Area I

Telecommunicators nominated for the ISP Telecommunicator of the Year Award must display a combination of the following qualifications and characteristics: outstanding contribution in the area of assignment; exceptional knowledge and ability to complete job functions; initiative to expand knowledge through attendance in college courses or seminars; civic contributions; and professional appearance and demeanor.

Other Telecommunicator of the Year nominees include:

Ms. Connie S. Grenoble; District 1
Ms. Denise A. Fitt; District 2
Ms. Lisa R. Massaro; District Chicago
Ms. Kathleen A. Lynn; District 5
Mr. Martin A. Bourgeois; District 6
Ms. Christine E. Swemline; District 7
Ms. Shonda D. Windish; District 8
Ms. Laura A. Moore; Springfield Communications Center
Ms. Pamela M. Stalcup; District 11
Ms. Susan M. Zerrusen; District 12
Mr. Luke O. Lay; District 13
Ms. Amy J. Cloninger; District 14
Ms. Lagenia Lee; District 15
Ms. Judith A. Edwards; District 16
Mr. Kevin A. Scott; District 17
Ms. Lora C. Furlong; District 18
Mr. Timothy W. Berger; District 19
Ms. Karla J. Leahr; District 20
Ms. Bradley V. Richardson; District 21
Ms. Lisa L. Posey; District 22

Nominees for the ISP Forensic Scientist of the Year Award must display a combination of the following qualifications and characteristics: superior performance of an individual regarding casework; superior job performance; actions which exceed every day operations; and extraordinary community service or exceptional community involvement.

Other Forensic Scientist of the Year nominees include:

Ms. Melissa M. Childs; Metro-East Forensic Science Laboratory
Ms. Stephanie L. Bodine; Rockford Forensic Science Laboratory
Mr. Shannon D. George; Springfield Forensic Science Laboratory
Mr. Wilburn Wilkins; Joliet Forensic Science Laboratory
Mr. Kevin L. Zeeb; Morton Forensic Science Laboratory
Ms. Suzanne M. Kidd; Southern Illinois Forensic Science Centre
Ms. Angela D. Nealand; Westchester Forensic Science Laboratory

Additional information about the events for which the award winners were selected is attached.

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