From busting ruse burglars to tracking down perps, Palos Park Police recognized the accomplishments of officers as well as private citizens who have gone above and beyond the call of duty at the department’s annual awards dinner Wednesday evening at Hackney’s.
“Read the papers and see where different communities are in relationships with their elected officials and their collective bargaining units,” Palos Park Police Chief Joe Miller said. “I always go tell the people who work in the station that its about attention to detail. It’s about customer service. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that we work for you and working in a community like this makes a big difference.”
Four Palos Park police officers were nominated by their peers to receive commendation awards:
Detective Barry Churin was named the department’s “top cop." Known around the station as a tenacious crime fighter, Churin’s investigative work has resulted in the arrests of murder and burglary suspects, and armed barricaded gunmen. He is the Palos Park representative in the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force, Southwest Major Case Unit and the South Suburban Emergency Response Team. He is also the lead investigator on all Palos Park crime cases.
“His M.O. is simple,” the staff nomination committee said. “If any jurisdiction calls on him and he can help, he will help.”
Churin was so humble that he had to be dragged over for a group photo after the dinner.
When it comes to managing disasters and other village emergencies, Emergency Management Agency manager Frank Flores has worked on the village’s disaster plan, hazards assessment, preparation and making sure staff is trained to operate effectively in disasters.
“Frank’s work has earned him the respect and admiration of his colleagues and associates,” the nominating committee said. “Frank built an unimpeachable reputation for integrity, intelligence, fairness and kindness with the Illinois State Police that has carried on with his work in Palos Park.”
Flores was recognized with a Distinguished Service Award.
Officer Ross Chibe was honored with an Outstanding Service Commendation Award as someone who goes above and beyond his normal daily duties.
“Ross is always promoting the village and police department in a positive light," the nominating committee said. "Be it creating tools for us to use, like the form thumb drives, or better use of technology for our small department and being an all around great person.”
Most recently Chibe helped bring a safe and successful conclusion locating an armed missing suicidal person who was sending texts threatening to harm himself. Through phone tracking and coordinating with other police agencies, the person was located at Chicago’s Navy Pier.
The Illinois State Police’s Ruse Burglary Task Force was the recipient of Police Law Enforcement Partner Award, led by state police investigator Steve Pryor. The unit assisted Palos Park Police in in tracking down six offenders, who were charged in two Palos Park ruse burglaries of seniors’ homes in December.
Bill Shanley, who served for 25 years with the Palos Park Police Department also finally received a replica of his badge.
Shanley was presented with a 1914-2014 Centennial Badge for his 20 years as chief of police from 1975 to 1995.
“Bill was an inspiration to many young officers, including our current chief Joe Miller,” Commissioner Dan Polk said.
The retired chief currently serves as the director of Southwest Central Dispatch.
Private citizens were also honored at the dinner. The Palos Park Women’s Club was recognized with a Good Neighbor Award for their fundraising efforts to purchase ballistic vests for village officers.
Kevin Pendl received a Cadet Leadership Award for work with the volunteer Palos Park Police Explorer Post.
Receiving Good Citizenship Awards were the Community Center of Palos Park under the leadership of Dave and Frank Sanders; Tom and Vita Donovan; and Mike DiFoggio.