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  Illinois State Police News Release   

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Illinois State Police Announce 2011 Annual Award Recipients

Tamara Girten
Press Release Date: July 29, 2011    || Archived March 8, 2012
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois State Police (ISP) Director Hiram Grau today announced Illinois State Police Officer, Telecommunicator, and Forensic Scientist of the Year award recipients during the agency’s annual awards ceremony.  Sergeant Tamara Girten was named Officer of the Year, Ms. Lisa Mojzis was named Telecommunicator of the Year, and Ms. Lisa O’Daniel was presented with the Forensic Scientist of the Year Award.
The 2011 Illinois State Police Annual Awards Ceremony was held at Glenwood High School in Chatham, Illinois.
Illinois State Police Director Hiram Grau welcomed the recipients, family members, command staff, members, and other attendees and congratulated each awardee for their exemplary service to the citizens of Illinois.
“This is one of the Organization’s most important events where hard work and dedication is recognized at every level,” said Director Grau. “The leadership and professionalism of our sworn members and civilian employees is what makes this noble organization one of the best in the country,” Grau added. 
Officer of the Year, Sergeant Tamara Girten, has touched the lives of many innocent children as a member of the ISP’s Child Victimization Unit (CVU) and was recognized for her dedication and commitment to fighting child abuse. As a respected member of the CVU, Sergeant Girten is often sought by local police detectives who do not typically understand the complexities of an injured infant or child.  On numerous occasions, Sergeant Girten has been told by other investigators that if it was not for her expertise in this field, the outcome might have been drastically different.
A case highlighting her expertise occurred on July 3, 2010, when the Park Forest Police Department requested assistance with the death investigation of a three-month-old infant girl with multiple injuries to her head, neck, and back.  Sergeant Girten spent numerous hours interviewing the biological father and was instrumental in obtaining a confession. He was subsequently charged with First Degree Murder.
Sergeant Girten is also actively involved in many different organizations, and is a member of the Cook County Child Death Review Team, a partnership between numerous agencies and professionals across the state which serve and advocate for children.  She volunteers countless hours reviewing cases and discussing prevention strategies to reduce child injury and death.  Her knowledge and professionalism also helped guide the formation and success of the new Child Death Investigation Task Force in Southern Illinois. 
Sergeant Girten also contributes to the Resident Internship Program in conjunction with the University of Chicago and Lutheran General Hospitals. Residents receive training from the Child Victimization Unit as part of the hospital’s child protection rotation to better understand the importance of their role in child abuse investigations. Sergeant Girten currently serves as the President of the Children’s Advocacy Center of the Southwest Cook County Advisory Board.

Telecommunicator of the Year Award winner, Ms. Lisa Mojzis, has proudly served the ISP for 10 years as a telecommunications professional by providing dedicated service to the District 11 officers, co-workers, and the public. Mojzis excels at multi-tasking during high stress situations and quickly adapts to operational and procedural changes. These skills were utilized on October 26, 2010, when the O’Fallon Police Department requested a radio dispatch on a kidnapping/armed robbery suspect. By quickly relating the details of the dispatch to a similar incident  that had taken place in Oklahoma the previous week, she was able to identify a pattern of criminal behavior that enabled detectives to quickly identify a suspect responsible for multiple kidnappings and armed robberies in several states.  Ms. Mojzis’ was also instrumental locating a missing person while keeping in constant contact with the daughter to provide reassurance and support. During critical incidents, Ms. Mojzis is always alert and responsive to changes in the situation by immediately generating critical information to co-workers, command, and surrounding jurisdictions.  In the performance of all her duties, she duly enhances both officer and public safety.  

Forensic Scientist of the Year Lisa O’Daniel is known for her dedication, leadership, and the pride she takes in her work at the Southern Illinois Forensic Centre. These qualities are expressed in the high quality work she performs on latent print and footwear cases daily. She is also quick to help co-workers even with her own heavy workload, and wears several hats at the laboratory, delving into many different areas.  Additionally, Ms. O’Daniel serves on the Laboratory Activities Committee and finds time to assist trainees. She continues to conduct peer reviews and verifications for all footwear cases, as well as many latent print cases. Her leadership skills are evident in her role as the laboratory’s Safety Officer, Latent Print Section Advisory Committee Chairperson, and Latent Print Quality Review Coordinator. 
Going above and beyond the call of duty is the norm for Ms. O’Daniel. She consistently takes on new duties and volunteers whenever possible and is known as the “go to” person when rush cases arise, taking a short deadline and turning it around in a very expeditious manner.  When working two highly publicized cases, Ms. O’Daniel was instrumental in the identification of the suspects. Whether it is handling section duties or casework, she can be depended upon to do her best. When Ms. O’Daniel is presented with a challenge, she meets it head on and never shies away from the difficult aspects of a situation.  
Other presentations made during the ceremony include:

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 honorees are: 

  • Master Sergeant Kirk W. Rogers
  • Master Sergeant Rory C. Steidl, Retired
  • Master Sergeant Michael W. Sturgeon, Retired
  • Trooper Christopher R. Jones
  • Trooper Christopher D. Price
  • Trooper Nick L. Shoemaker
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:
  • Sergeant Brian L. Latham
  • Trooper Nick M. Homann
The Purple Heart Medal is presented 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. Officers receiving the Purple Heart this year are:
  • Trooper Nicholas M. Osifcin
  • Trooper Starlena Z. Wilson
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:
  • Lieutenant Mark A. Karczewski
  • Master Sergeant Matthew F. Hodgdon
  • Master Sergeant David Roll
  • Sergeant Jason L. Miller
  • Trooper Roy Atwater
  • Trooper Tarod Deeder
  • Trooper Brandon C. Engleking
  • Trooper Damian L. Colon
  • Trooper Gregg A. Cox
  • Trooper John Heng
  • Trooper Jarrod A. Leckrone
  • Trooper Mark A. Mechler
  • Trooper Woodrow Montgomery
  • Trooper Larry R. Piotrowski
  • Trooper Christopher D. Price
  • Trooper James S. Rieck
  • Trooper Jeffrey T. Snyder
  • Trooper Paul Whatley
  • Trooper Scott D. Wobbe
  • Telecommunicator Specialist DeAnn R. Rizzi
  • Call Taker Michelle Cartolano
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. Joshua A. Beal
  • Mr. Ron Buchanan
  • Mr. Christopher D. Cougill
  • Ms. Shelby A. Deeder
  • Mr. Robert A. Francism
  • Mr. Frank L. Furbeck
  • Ms. Cynthia M. Gates
  • Mr. Adam Hammitt
  • FBI Special Agent Jonathan Kelly
  • Mr. Clay Lister
  • Mr. Arthur J. Padron
  • Pike County Sheriff Paul Petty
  • Mr. Mark Pulliam
  • Mr. Darin Rogers
  • Mrs. Janelle Rogers
  • Mr. Gabriel Shamoon
  • Ms. Julie Wager
  • Illinois Army National Guard Captain David W. Weir
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 Sean W. Adler, District 1 
  • Trooper Douglas W. Yorke, District 2
  • Trooper Starlena Z. Wilson, District Chicago  
  • Sergeant Dustin A. Geier, District 5 
  • Trooper Timothy B. Sweeney, District 6 
  • Trooper Daniel S. Erickson, District 7    
  • Trooper Michael W. Conner, District 8  
  • Trooper Dustin E. Weiss, District 9  
  • Trooper Christopher E. Owen, District 10 
  • Trooper Mark A. McAmish, District 11 
  • Trooper Ryan J. Finney, District 12 
  • Trooper Bobby D. Bundren, District 13 
  • Trooper Marc L. Baker, District 14 
  • Trooper James M. Kirkpatrick, District 15 
  • Trooper Daniel L. Ramey, District 16
  • Trooper Jeffrey L. Nichols, District 17
  • Trooper Mitchell A. Downey, District 18 
  • Trooper Matthew D. Haywood, District 19 
  • Trooper Steven E. Snow, District 20 
  • Trooper Nick L. Shoemaker, District 21
  • Trooper Rick L. Reed, District 22 
  • Special Agent Anthony E. Romeo, Zone 2
  • Sergeant Joseph Stavola, Zone 3
  • Sergeant Phillep E. Trompeter, Zone 4
  • Special Agent Eric S. Morgan, Zone 5
  • Sergeant Brian L. Latham, Zone 6
  • Special Agent Timothy A. McDaniel, Zone 7
  • Special Agent Melecio Y. Pino, Operational Services Command
  • Special Agent Thomas M. Griffin, Riverboat Gaming Command
  • Sergeant James L. Vail, Division of Forensic Services
  • Sergeant Casey L. Faro, Division of Internal Investigation
  • Trooper Joseph W. Hutchins, Division of Administration
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. Akeisha T. Shores, District 2 
  • Ms. Victoria L. Galati, District Chicago
  • Ms. Elyse M. Morgan, District 5 
  • Mr. David C. Melvin, District 6 
  • Mr. Mark A. White, District 7 
  • Ms. Peggy J. Cooper, District 8 
  • Ms. Susan Lebeane, Springfield Communications Center
  • Mr. Kenneth R. Williams, District 10
  • Ms. Heather M. Cloe, District 12
  • Mr. David D. Kinsey, District 13
  • Mr. Scott A. Coultas, District 14
  • Ms. Carrie Choquette, District 15
  • Mr. Michael J. Reittinger, District 16
  • Ms. Kathryn L. Brewer, District 17
  • Ms. Tammy R. Hollo, District 18
  • Ms. Arleen M. Simmons, District 19
  • Ms. Sarah J. Barker, District 20
  • Ms. Gwenn S. Knight, District 21
  • Mr. Randall B. Moallankamp, 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. Rhonda K. Earl, Rockford Forensic Science Laboratory
  • Ms. Tracy L. Moore, Springfield Forensic Science Laboratory
  • Ms. Deborah J. Magolan, Westchester Forensic Science Laboratory
  • Ms. Mary Wong, Forensic Science Center at Chicago
  • Ms. Pamela M. Wilson, Joliet Forensic Science Laboratory
  • Mr. Chris C. Jacobson, Morton Forensic Science Laboratory
  • Mr. Brian Hapack, Metro-East Forensic Science Laboratory

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