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  Illinois State Police News Release   

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Illinois honors Illinois State Police Officers, Telecommunicator and Forensic Scientist of the Year

Press Release Date: May 21, 2009    || Archived September 2, 2009
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois State Police Director Jonathon E. Monken today announced Illinois State Police Officer, Telecommunicator, and Forensic Scientist of the Year award winners during the agency’s annual awards ceremony held in Springfield. Sharing the title of Officer of the Year are Trooper Christopher Owen and Special Agent Joshua A. Anderton. Cheryl N. Thomas was named Telecommunicator of the Year, and Mr. Robert D. Reneau was presented with the Forensic Scientist of the Year Award.

“This year’s award recipients are individuals who take great pride in the job they do every day,” said ISP Director Jonathon Monken. “Their professionalism, heroism, and commitment to excellence is to be commended.”

District 10 Trooper Christopher Owen was recognized for his vital role as one of the finest canine handlers along with his impeccable skills in drug interdiction. Trooper Owen and his canine partner, Xocko, are highly regarded in the areas of tracking, area searches, and narcotic interdiction. Trooper Owen and Xocko worked together to render one of their most successful seizures of $2,768,996 in illegal narcotics, $58,841 in currency, and another $480,130 in property.

Over the course of 2008, Trooper Owen finished as the statewide leader with 26 weapons arrests. He also had 47 arrests for drug-related offenses, 117 criminal arrests, and assisted with another 61 arrests throughout the year. Although his arrests were many, the largest drug arrest captured over 110 pounds of cannabis, $1,500 in cash, along with a small amount of Ecstasy.

Trooper Owen’s exemplary performance and skills are substantiated with successful prosecution and an excellent reputation. He volunteers his personal time to provide canine demonstrations and presents information to school age children about drugs and alcohol. Trooper Owen always portrays a positive image of the Illinois State Police in all of his interactions.

Zone 4 Special Agent Joshua Anderton was recognized for his formidable effort in the area of investigations. During 2008, Special Agent Anderton opened 95 cases and recovered 80 stolen vehicles with an estimated value of $675,969, which accounted for over half of the dollar amount of all recovered stolen vehicles in the Peoria Tri-County area. His contributions also included 27 arrests. His abilities go far beyond auto theft investigations. While monitoring Peoria radio traffic, Special Agent Anderton heard a bank robbery dispatch and responded to the location. While other officers were unable to control the suspect who was ignoring their instructions, he was able to step in and gain control of the situation, thereby preventing any further escalation. Working in the Morton Laboratory as a Latent Print Examiner, Forensic Scientist of the Year, Mr. Robert Reneau, is an outstanding scientist who works diligently to produce high quality casework. In fact, one month he produced three times the amount of casework normally expected for that time frame. Mr. Reneau spent countless hours writing new procedures and policies for digital imaging, which resulted in more efficient casework and a reduced work load. In the summer of 2008, he shared his knowledge and expertise in the area of digital imaging by giving a presentation on the “Ins and Outs of Digital Imaging” at a local conference.

Mr. Reneau also published a paper in the Journal of Forensic Identification which has changed the way latent prints are identified and how latent print examiners testify in court. As a result of his efforts, previously unidentifiable prints are now linked to offenders, removing those individuals from society. Through this publication, Mr. Reneau has generated positive, worldwide feedback in the latent print arena and for the Illinois State Police. In an extremely high-profile case, he provided critical analysis to identify the murderer’s palm print on a white plastic bag, and through his testimony, assisted in the sentencing of the defendant to 100 years in prison.

Telecommunicator of Year, Ms. Cheryl N. Thomas, is an eight-year veteran of the Illinois State Police and assigned to District 19 in Carmi. Ms. Thomas has served as a member of the STARCOM 21 team for three years and continues to be heavily involved in developing STARCOM policies and procedures. When faced with problems, Ms. Thomas always takes the initiative to solve them. For example, oftentimes phone numbers need to be traced for unresponsive callers or calls received without caller identification. District 19 receives several cellular calls from domestic violence victims whose cell phone is limited to calling 911 only. She contacted each of the cellular providers to obtain the proper procedures and contact numbers to initiate an emergency telephone number trace. Now calls can be easily traced and victims can get the help they need. The Medal for Valor is awarded to Illinois State Police personnel who perform an act of exceptional bravery, with an awareness of the possibility that the act could result in great bodily harm or death to themselves. This year’s honoree is:

  • Trooper James T. Adkisson
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 recipients are:
  • Special Agent Gregory M. Cowell
  • Special Agent Sean W. King
  • Special Agent Matthew G. Weller
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:
  • Master Sergeant Stuart Weyforth
  • Sergeant David E. Keltner
  • Trooper Michael R. Bird
  • Trooper Jeffrey D. Enderli
  • Trooper Jason J. Heinzl
  • Trooper Dennis T. Kranc
  • Trooper Zachary O. Peters
  • Trooper James M. Sauter
  • Trooper Scott D. Wobbe
  • Mr. Mark A. White
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 employee was honored:
  • Mr. Kortenay R. Templeton
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:
  • Rockford Police Officer Jeffrey Andrews
  • Mr. Jon A. Corzatt
  • Mr. Kevin R. Hopp
  • Ms. Ashtyn McCommons
  • Ms. Candace McCommons
  • Mr. Clint Stephens
  • Mr. Dan Warner
  • Mrs. Lori Warner
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:
Trooper Nathan R. Anderson, District 1
Trooper Frank E. Scanio, District 2
Trooper Brian Epps, District Chicago
Trooper Ricardo Zarate, District 5
Trooper Scott W. Ahrens, District 6
Trooper Jason L. Dickey, District 7
Trooper Dustin D. Pierce, District 8
Trooper Michael P. Little, District 9
Trooper Scott D. Wobbe, District 11
Sergeant Bruce M. Waggoner, District 12
Trooper Robin S. Gooch, District 13
Trooper James T. Adkisson, District 14
Trooper Brett E. Smith, District 15
Trooper Daron L. Barge, District 16
Trooper Jeffrey L. Nichols, District 17
Trooper Christopher R. Boyett, District 18
Trooper Jeffrey L. Karcher, District 19
Trooper Michael L. Kindhart, District 20
Trooper Brent E. Sledge, District 21
Trooper James M. Wright, District 22
Sergeant Matthew J. Gainer, Zone 1
Trooper Corey L. Peck, Zone 2
Special Agent Don A. Harsy, Zone 3
Special Agent Kimberly A. Cessna, Zone 5
Special Agent Patricia K. Cullen, Zone 6
Special Agent Scott C. Rhodes, Zone 7
Special Agent Casswell Dawson, Riverboat Command
Special Agent Bill G. Jacques, Statewide Investigative Support Command
Trooper Dominic J. Chiappini, Critical Incident Response Command
Trooper Mark G. Beagles, Statewide Investigative Support Command
Trooper Michael A. Severino, Statewide Patrol Support Command
Special Agent Michael H. Lewis, Crime Scene Services Command
Special Agent Pete M. Goodman, DII Southern Command

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. Jennifer K. Linboom, District 1
Ms. Akeisha T. Shores, District 2
Mr. Michael D. McDermott, District Chicago
Ms. Kathleen A. Lynn, District 5
Mr. Scott H. Bork, District 6
Ms. Laurie A. delosReyes, District 7
Ms. Kathy J. Yentes, District 8
Ms. Betty G. Monk, Springfield Communications Center
Ms. Cheryl A. Miles, District 10
Mr. Robert I. Castens, District 11
Ms. Renee A, Beccue, District 12
Ms. Yvonne M. Murray, District 13
Ms. Amy J. Cloninger, District 14
Ms. MaryAnn Capitan, District 15
Ms. Dana M. Dillard, District 16
Mr. Kevin A. Scott, District 17
Ms. Tammy R. Hollo, District 18
Ms. Jill A. Carter, District 20
Ms. Roberta F. Clutz, District 21
Ms. Rhonda L. Baker, 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:
Mr. Blake D. Aper, Rockford Forensic Science Laboratory
Mr. John E. Carnes, Springfield Forensic Science Laboratory
Ms. Catherine H. Fashingbauer, Westchester Forensic Science Laboratory
Mr. Jamie J. Jett, Forensic Science Center at Chicago
Ms. Lisa A. O’Daniel, Southern Illinois Forensic Science Centre
Mr. Jeffrey K. Parise, Joliet Forensic Science Laboratory
Ms. Marla J. Spangler, Metro-East Forensic Science Laboratory

Additional information about the events for which the award winners were selected

For more information contact:
Public Information Office
Telephone: 217-782-6637
TDD: 1-800-255-3323

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