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  Illinois State Police News Release   

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Illinois State Police Hosts 38th Annual Awards Ceremony

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Press Release Date: July 31, 2015    || Archived November 29, 2016

Top Officer, Telecommunicator, and Forensic Scientist Honored for Their Actions and Accomplishments.

Springfield, IL – Illinois State Police (ISP) Director Leo Schmitz was joined by ISP command staff members today to recognize the noble contributions made by sworn and civilian members of the Illinois State Police, government agencies and the public. 

The 38th Annual Awards Ceremony was held at Glenwood High School in Chatham, Illinois and paid tribute to the acts of heroism and professionalism displayed by approximately 50 men and women who were honored during the event.  Each awardee was recognized for their exemplary service to the ISP and the citizens of Illinois.

"The men and women of the Illinois State Police are dedicated individuals who are committed to protecting and serving the citizens of Illinois. Their professionalism and pride for this agency are evident in their daily activities," said ISP Director Leo Schmitz.  "Today we are also recognizing personnel from other agencies as well as brave citizens who stepped up to assist the ISP in our public safety efforts.  We are grateful for the outstanding efforts and sacrifices of all of these extraordinary men and women," he added.

Among the award recipients were three individuals who received special recognition for exemplary service:  Special Agent Patrick R. McGuire - Officer of the Year; Ms. Ann M. Hart - Telecommunicator of the Year; and Dr. Kimberly S. Kunkler - Forensic Scientist of the Year.

Officer of the Year, Special Agent Patrick R. McGuire 

Assigned to Zone 6, Special Agent Patrick R. McGuire exemplifies the tenets of the Illinois State Police – Integrity, Service, and Pride.  His motivation and desire to excel are evident by his performance.  Selected to investigate some of the most heinous crimes, Special Agent McGuire often is sought out by other agencies and investigators for his expertise and guidance.  A member of the Greater St. Louis Area Major Case Squad and Illinois Child Death Investigative Team, Special Agent McGuire demonstrates a selfless attitude that is recognized and emulated by his peers.  He consistently goes above and beyond the call of duty during work hours and his personal time.  Of his numerous cases in 2014, two were infant deaths, three were homicides, and seven were sexual assaults, with six cases resulting in criminal charges.

Special Agent McGuire worked several complex cases, including an Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse investigation involving a child that occurred 18 years earlier.  The incident originally was reported to Mormon Church leaders who decided not to notify authorities and handle the matter internally.  The detailed and well-researched efforts of Special Agent McGuire led to the serving of a search warrant resulting in the discovery of documentation supporting the victim’s claim.  This was the first search warrant successfully served against the Mormon Church and ultimately led to the conviction of the suspect.  In May 2014, Special Agent McGuire responded to a bomb threat at Calhoun County High School.  He brought a sense of calm and reassurance to the scene that immediately deescalated the situation.  His outstanding interview skills and perseverance resulted in a teacher confessing to the threat.  The incident gained significant national media attention, and the teacher subsequently was convicted on federal charges.

Telecommunicator of the Year, Ms. Ann Hart 

Ms. Ann Hart has proudly served the Illinois State Police for more than 37 years as a telecommunications professional. She is an exceptional employee who has earned the respect of sworn officers, peers and subordinates.  Ms. Hart consistently maintains her personal composure and professional demeanor during high stress situations.  She is a knowledgeable employee and is well versed in her job duties as well as Department policies and procedures.  She possesses the knowledge to handle work of the most complex nature. 

In April 2014, Ms. Hart, who was assigned to District 10 Radio, volunteered to work in District 8 to assist with telecommunicator staffing levels.  While detailed to Peoria, Ms. Hart frequently worked alone regardless of sworn staffing levels or activities. One evening she was the sole telecommunicator for several patrol officers.  Over the radio an officer announced “shots-fired, several victims.” Ms. Hart handled this emergency while simultaneously managing radio traffic from the other officers.  She had only been working in District 8 a month when this incident occurred.

Another example of Ms. Hart’s professional demeanor during high stress situations occurred on December 10, 2014, while she was off duty. Ms. Hart was traveling northbound on Illinois Route 47 when she witnessed a vehicle driving erratically. She observed the vehicle crash into another vehicle, leave the scene of the crash, and stop a short time later.  Ms. Hart called 911, summoning police and an ambulance. With no regard for her safety, she reached into the offending vehicle and removed the keys. She discovered the driver was unconscious and not breathing. She opened the driver’s airway finding a weak pulse. Ms. Hart and a responding officer were later forced to move the driver from the vehicle to administer CPR until the ambulance arrived.

Forensic Scientist of the Year, Dr. Kimberly Kunkler

Dr. Kimberly Kunkler is a Forensic Scientist in the Trace Chemistry section at the Springfield Forensic Science Laboratory.  Her dedication, integrity, leadership, and pride are demonstrated by her quality work and unwavering commitment to serve criminal justice agencies statewide. Dr. Kunkler is proficient in all four Trace Chemistry forensic sub-disciplines; arson, explosives, glass and paint. In 2014, as in previous years, she distinguished herself as one of the top casework-producing scientists in the Trace Chemistry section. More importantly, her work is consistently thorough and of the highest quality.

Dr. Kunkler demonstrated leadership within the Trace Chemistry section by consistently advancing the analytical and informational capabilities of that section.  She provided extensive technical advice and assistance in validating a new instrument that enhances the ability of scientists to discriminate between glass samples submitted as evidence in criminal cases. In addition to her normal casework, Dr. Kunkler performed various tasks for the statewide Quality Assurance Program and the Trace Chemistry Command Advisory Board which helped ensure the section maintains compliance with stringent quality standards. Her versatility and extensive knowledge of trace chemistry makes her a valuable asset to the ISP.  

Dr. Kunkler generously serves the community through her active involvement in the “Expand Your Horizons” Career Fair at Lincoln Land Community College. This event is geared toward middle school girls interested in science and mathematics careers.  She also mentored local high school science students who were entered in a forensic science themed Science Olympiad Competition; sharing her time, knowledge and experience to help prepare them for a challenging statewide competition. Dr. Kunkler also continued her association with the Illinois State Fire Marshal K9 Training Program by preparing samples and training aids to support the recertification of arson K9 teams.     

Medal for Honor

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:

Lieutenant William D. Sons, Zone 7

Sergeant Michael J. Belford, District 22

Sergeant W. Chad Brown, Zone 7

Special Agent Alicia K. Barr, Zone 7

Trooper Jason D. Blessing, District 19

Trooper Shane C. Pettigrew, District 13

Trooper Sharleen S. Seas, District 16

Trooper Wesley S. Van Hook, District 22

Trooper Brian Wilson, District 13


Achievement Medal

Awarded to Illinois State Police 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. The act or acts must be because of performance beyond the requirements of the normal work assignment.

This year’s recipients:

Colonel Marc R. Maton, Retired

Colonel Kelly J. Walter, Division of Administration

Captain Felix Canizares, Division of Administration

Captain Matthew J. Davis, Division of Forensic Services

Captain Patrick J. Murphy, Division of Administration

Lieutenant Darrin E. Clark, District 9

Master Sergeant M. Jennifer Radosevic, Division of Administration

Master Sergeant John C. Thompson, Office of the Director

Trooper Jose I. DeAvila, District of Chicago

Bureau Chief James A. Blakely, Division of Administration

Bureau Chief Jessica L. Trame, Division of Administration

Assistant Bureau Chief Darrin A. Turner, Division of Administration

Ms. Suzanne L. Bond, Office of the Director

Mr. Relu I. Jianu, Division of Administration


Purple Heart

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. 

This year’s recipients:

Trooper Douglas J. Balder, District 15

Trooper Michael S. Cokins, District 15

Trooper Nathan P. Shanks, Division of Operations, SOCOM


Lifesaving Medal

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. 

This year’s recipients:

Trooper Kevin D. Dardugno, District 15

Trooper Sharleen S. Seas, District 16

Telecommunicator Specialist Jeanne D. Lewis, Division of Administration


Director’s Award of Distinction

The Director’s Award of Distinction may be 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.

This year’s recipients:

Officer Samuel G. Aguirre, Aurora Police Department

Special Agent Ron Bratcher, Federal Bureau of Investigation

Officer David A. Brian, Aurora Police Department

Sheriff Timothy Brown, Alexander County Sheriff’s Department

Officer Cody Collins, Altamont Police Department

Captain Dave Dover, Alexander County Sheriff’s Department

Corporal Darren Feldkamp, Effingham County Sheriff’s Department

Mr. Ronald Hamson, Dahlgren, Illinois

Officer Brian A. Hester, Aurora Police Department

Mr. James Holland, Mason, Illinois

Officer Doug Holman, Altamont Police Department

Mr. Todd J. Ingebritson, Benton City, Missouri

Ms. Deborah K. Kramm, Whittington, Illinois

Mr. Chad A. Mitsdarffer, Enfield Illinois

Chief Deputy Burl Pickett, Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department

Mr. Jason Shelton, Ledbetter, Kentucky

Mr. Jacob A. Williams, Auburn, Illinois


Meritorious Service Medal

Awarded to ISP 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, judgement, and responsibility.

This year’s recipients:

Laboratory Director Stephen E. Avedisian, Division of Forensic Services

Assistant Laboratory Director Steven D. Klingaman, Division of Forensic Services


Officer of the Year Award

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. 

Officer of the Year nominees:

Division of Administration

Sergeant Craig A. Nolan, Firearms Services Bureau


Division of Forensic Services

Trooper Ray E. Sutton, Crime Scene Services Command


Division of Internal Investigation

Special Agent Kimberly A. Hart, Southern Command             


Division of Operations

Special Agent Phillip W. Taylor, Medical Fraud Control Bureau

Special Agent Krista N. Thien, Zone 1

Special Agent Tyrone L. Moore, Zone 2

Special Agent Jorge Fonseca, Zone 3

Special Agent Brian T. Hayes, Zone 4

Special Agent Chad C. Dumonceaux, Zone 5

Special Agent Patrick R. McGuire, Zone 6

Special Agent Alicia K. Barr, Zone 7

Trooper Jeffrey A. Meisenheimer, District 1

Trooper Ricardo Zarate, District 5

Trooper Ryan M. Albin, District 6

Trooper Edwin D. Shamblin, District 7

Trooper Aaron R. Derubeis, District 8

Trooper Elijah R. Adams, District 9

Trooper Tracy J. Lillard, District 10

Trooper Scott M. Becker, District 11

Trooper Ronald L. Will, District 12

Trooper Jeremy M. Wynn, District 13

Trooper Cory J. Fox, District 14

Trooper Douglas J. Balder, District 15

Trooper Sharleen S. Seas, District 16

Trooper Michael J. Kasprak, District 17

Trooper Gregory A. Brunnworth, District 18

Trooper Adam C. Zimmerman, District 19

Trooper Matthew R. Poulter, District 20

Trooper Ryan R. Wilson, District 21

Trooper Bridget R. Rice, District 22

Trooper Jose I. Deavila, District Chicago


Telecommunicator of the Year Award

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. 

Telecommunicator of the Year Nominees:

Ms. Cynthia S. Akins, District 16              

Ms. Karla Carey, District 2

Ms. Melanie E. Clark, District Chicago

Ms. Ann M. Hart, Pontiac Communications Center

Mr. Tavis Fivek, District 17

Ms. Brenda S. Landheer, District 7

Ms. Jeanne D. Lewis, Springfield Communications Center

Ms. Kathleen A. Lynn, District 5

Ms. Yvonne M. Murray, DuQuoin Communications Center

Ms Cynthia Ruiz, District 15

Ms. Pamela M. Stalcup, Collinsville Communications Center

Ms. Mindy R. Starr, District 1


Forensic Scientist of the Year Award

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 everyday operations; and extraordinary community service or exceptional community involvement. 

Forensic Scientist of the Year nominees:

Mr. James A. Coglianese, Joliet Forensic Science Laboratory

Ms. Denise A. Hanley, Morton Forensic Science Laboratory

Mr. Aaron M. Horn, Metro-East Forensic Science Laboratory

Ms. Tina S. Joyce, Forensic Science Center at Chicago

Ms. Kimberly S. Kunkler, Springfield Forensic Science Laboratory

Mr. David A. Welte, Rockford Forensic Science Laboratory 

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