SPRINGFIELD, IL - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich commended 28 Illinois law enforcement officers who were awarded the Law Enforcement Medal of Honor today during a ceremony at the Executive Mansion in Springfield. The annual awards ceremony honors law enforcement officers who have distinguished themselves by exhibiting bravery at the risk of their own lives.
“It is both a privilege and honor to recognize the men and women of law enforcement who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to safeguard the lives of our citizens,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “As officers throughout the state receive this prestigious award and continue to dedicate their life to public service, we will not easily forget or take for granted their commitment to ensure our safety.”
Two of the medals were awarded to the families of officers who lost their lives in the line of duty. Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Tommy K. Martin was shot in the face and chest on June 21, 2007, by two armed suspects fleeing from the Illinois State Police after committing a home invasion robbery. He succumbed to the wounds on July 17, 2007. Illinois State Police Trooper Brian C. McMillen was killed in a squad car crash on October 28, 2007, while responding to a call for assistance from the Sangamon County Sheriff’s Office.
“As we recognize one of our own fallen officers, Trooper Brian C. McMillan, it reminds us of the personal sacrifices law enforcement officers make everyday,” said Illinois State Police Director Larry G. Trent. “The acts of bravery and distinction they have demonstrated are a reflection of their deep commitment in providing quality service to our community. It's with great pride that we salute all the recipients for their outstanding work and thank their families for allowing them to serve the citizens of Illinois.”
Twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year, police officers from municipal, county, and state agencies patrol the streets of this state. Each of those officers and their families understand the risks those officers assume. These officers are no exception, they are proud to serve the residents and citizens of this state.
Medal of Honor Award recipients include:
Officer Glenda K. Van Horn, Aurora Police Department
Officer William J. Sullivan, Aurora Police Department
Officer Daniel S. Conforti, Broadview Police Department
Deputy Chief John F. Murphy, Champaign Police Department
Officer Shannon D. Bridges, Champaign Police Department
Officer Sergio Vences, Chicago Police Department
Officer Jonathan E. Shortall, Chicago Police Department
Officer Anthony F. LaRocca, Chicago Police Department
Detective Patrick B. Johnson, Chicago Police Department
Officer Pamela Purdiman, Chicago Police Department
Officer Christopher M. Saladino, Chicago Police Department
Officer Edgar R. Garcia, Chicago Police Department
Officer Kevin C. McDonald, Chicago Police Department
Officer Daniel V. Palenik, Chicago Police Department
Officer Mathew Baio, Chicago Police Department
Officer Charles S. Johnson, Chicago Police Department
Officer Bartell K. Keithley, Chicago Police Department
Commander Alfonza Wysinger, Chicago Police Department
Officer Craig J. Bady, Chicago Police Department
Chief Deputy Tommy K. Martin; Douglas County Sheriff’s Office
Trooper Brian C. McMillen, Illinois State Police
Trooper Sean W. King, Illinois State Police
Officer Richard J. Trafton, Joliet Police Department
Officer Michael J. Sheridan, Joliet Police Department
Officer Matthew J. Spaller, Maryville Police Department
Detective Chad E. LaCost, Peoria County Sheriff’s Office
Chief Cliffton R. Metaxa, Round Lake Police Department
Officer Kraig M. Kapusinski, Round Lake Police Department
The Law Enforcement Medal of Honor committee, created by statue, reviews nominations submitted annually for events occurring during the preceding year. The Director of the Illinois State Police chairs the committee. Other committee members consist of the Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department, the Executive Director of the Illinois Local Governmental Law Enforcement’s Training Board, and the following individuals appointed by the Governor: a sheriff, a chief of police other than Chicago, a representative of a statewide law enforcement officers organization and a retired Illinois law enforcement officer.
Additional information about the events for which the award winners were selected is attached.