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City honors officers for bravery

Police officers marched up the center aisle to perform a ceremonial drill, while bag pipers in Scottish attire followed closely behind them at the Police Awards Ceremony at the Evanston Civic Center Monday night.

Police officers marched up the center aisle to perform a ceremonial drill, while bag pipers in Scottish attire followed closely behind them at the Police Awards Ceremony at the Evanston Civic Center Monday night.

At the ceremony, police officers and citizens were acknowledged for their acts of bravery and outstanding performances.

Deputy Chief Barbara Wiedlin presented the Officer of the Year medal for 2009 to Officer Francesca Henderson because “she went above and beyond the call of duty.” She saved the lives of her fellow police officers by shooting an armed, uncooperative offender in a domestic battery investigation on Oct. 8, 2008.

Officer Sean O’Brien accepted the department’s highest award, the Medal of Valor. On May 9, 2009, he rescued a coworker from a burning vehicle and then stabilized her until firefighters arrived. Wiedlin said O’Brien’s selfless behavior during an emergency situation saved his co-worker’s life.

Police Chief Richard Eddington and Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl with officers Adam Pack and Aaron DeCicco, who were honored for capturing a suspect in the robbery of a pizza deliveryman.

Detective Larry Miller was awarded with a Commendation, the department’s second highest form of recognition. An unnamed source introduced Miller to a drug dealer in January 2009. Then he made undercover purchases of heroin. Miller was granted a court order to record conversations between him the heroin dealer. The heroin dealer was arrested and was charged with six counts of delivery of a controlled substance.

“I didn’t know I was getting that last one (award): the Undercover Operation when I was in the gang and narcotics unit” said Miller.

Marty Rafacz, Dan Lynch, Jamil Fakhoury and Phil Mosberg were given Honorable Mentions, the third highest form of recognition. These firefighters and paramedics saved the life of a man who had attempted to commit suicide on April 8, 2009. As Team members from Ambulance and Fire Engine 21 arrived, they removed the subject from his vehicle and resuscitated him.

Firefighter Marty Rafacz with his family at the awards ceremony.

“ We certainly don’t do this for the awards. We’re just doing our jobs,” Rafacz said after receiving his honor.

Related link

Full list of awards 

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