The Evanston Police Department has honored several officers for special efforts in serving the community.

Here’s a recap of the awards, made at the May 4 City Council meeting.

Fire rescue

Officers Brian Brandenburg, medal of valor, the department’s highest award, and Ronald Blumenberg, commendation, the department’s second highest award.

On April 21, 2008, the two officers responded to a report of an active residential fire. Arriving before the fire department personnel, they noticed heavy smoke emanating from the first floor.

Officer Brandenburg entered the building and crawled on his hands and knees and located the 63-year-old elderly female resident.

He was able to carry the woman to the back of the building and Officer Blumenberg assisted in carrying the woman safely to the parkway where fire personnel were waiting.

Their actions are credited with preventing injury or death of the woman they rescued.

Lake rescue

Officers Matthew George and Mikhail Geyer, medals of valor, and Detective Tracy Williams and Officer Enjoli Daley, honorable mentions, the department’s third highest recognition.

Just before midnight on Aug. 3, 2008, officers responded to Lee Street Beach, in response to a 911 call of subjects in the water screaming for help.

Upon arriving on the scene the officers heard the screams of a male and female and could see they were in distress in the area of the breakwater about 50 to 100 yards from the shore.

Realizing the panicked swimmers were moments away from drowning and despite the large waves and strong undercurrents, officers George and Geyer entered the water.

They used a rescue disc that was thrown to them by Officer Daley and were able to deploy this disc to the male victim. The male victim was then pulled to their location.

Officer Schienbein then entered the water to assist Officer Geyer with bringing the male victim to shore.

Officer George, now with the help of Officer Faison and another rescue disc, continued further into the water in search of the female victim.

Officer Faison deployed the disc in the female’s direction and she was able to catch it. Officers George and Faison then pulled the victim to safe water and carried her to shore.

Extreme darkness also hindered the rescue of these two victims, but because of the actions of Officers Christopher Tortorello, Gerard Leeson and Detective Tracy Williams, who climbed onto the breakwater, despite the apparent danger, in order to provide the illumination necessary for the Officers in the water to locate the victims.

The successful rescue of these victims was the result of a precise action taken by each officer in unison as a team.

Burglary team investigation

A unit citation to Sergeants Mark Poya and Brian Henry, Detectives Anna Ostap, Melissa Sacluti, Vince Santillo, Aaron Wernick and Fernando Gomez, and Officers Kevin Champion, Brian Rust and Brian Hicks.

For several months Evanston, as well as neighboring towns, saw a marked increase in residential and vehicle burglaries.

The Burglary Mission Team was formed to begin surveillance and intelligence gathering.

Through tireless efforts of the Team, intelligence was gathered leading the team to a home in Evanston were narcotics were being sold and stolen property was being fenced.

On Feb. 15, 2008, a search warrant was executed. Recovered during the search warrant were 119 grams of crack cocaine, 94.1 grams of cannabis, ten weapons including five handguns.

About 56 burglary cases have been cleared by Evanston, Morton Grove, Wilmette and Skokie Police Departments. This was one of the largest seizures of stolen property in the history of the Evanston Police Department.

Sexual assault arrest

Officer Anthony Beckman, honorable mention.

On July 3, 2008, Officer Backman was on proactive patrol of a deployment area where a recent criminal sexual assault had occurred.
He noticed and subsequently stopped the subject who he engaged in conversation and learned he had a loaded handgun in his waistband.

Using good officer safety techniques Beckman was able to take the subject into custody without any resistance and his follow through investigation led to a written statement from the subject and completing a thorough report of the incident.

Arrest in narcotics investigation

Detective Michael Endre and Officer Adam Nawotka, honorable mention.

On Oct. 21, 2008, Detective Endre and Officer Nawotka were conducting a street narcotics investigation in the rear of a building with two individuals waiting for a drug delivery.

Detective Endre, observed a third individual and approached the subject. The subject was evasive and Endre became concerned for his safety.

He ordered the subject to place his hands on the wall to conduct a protective pat down. A physical altercation began. Endre fell through a door with the subject, the door closed behind you and locked.

Officer Nawotka, was able to break a window and climb through to come to his partner’s aid, leading to the arrest of a convicted felon.

Due to their combined efforts, a convicted felon was arrested.

Man with a gun arrest

Officer Adam Nawotka, honorable mention.

On Sept. 15, 2008, Officer Nawotka responded to a man with a gun call.

He located witnesses, obtained a description of the suspect and the address of the suspect.

The officer’s arrival at the suspect’s address, the suspect exited his residence and Officer Nawotka observed the tip of a shotgun barrel protruding from the bottom of his pant leg.

He gave clear and loud verbal commands, but the suspect refused to cooperate. The officer administered a forward take down and both the oficer and the suspect fell to the ground.

The officer continued to use weaponless impact techniques and with the assistance of other officers, was able to take the suspect safely into custody.

A fully loaded Remington 870 12-gauge shot gun was recovered from the suspect’s pant leg.

Bank robbery arrest

Officer Adam Pack, honorable mention.

On Sept. 9, 2008, Officer Pack responded to the area of a bank robbery.

A brief description was given of the suspects. Officer Pack searched the area and found the suspect in a nearby park. He confronted the suspect and were able to apprehend him without incident. The suspect was positively identified by bank personnel.

Man with a gun arrest

Officer David Cherrey, honorable mention.

On June 3, 2008, Officer Cherrey responded to the 1800 block of Grey for a shots fired call.

Responding units did not locate anything in the immediate area.

Officer Cherrey remained deployed in the area and observed a subject slouched down in the rear of a parked SUV.

He approached the vehicle in order to engage the subject. At this time, the subject pulled a handgun from his waistband.

Officer Cherrey eventually was able to apprehend the subject and recovered a loaded Glock 19 handgun.

The subject was charged with Unlawful Use of a Weapon by a Felon.

Bank robbery arrest

Commander Jeffrey Jamraz and Officer Nathaniel Basner, honorable mention.

On May 14, 2008, Commander Jamraz and Officer Basner responded to a bank robbery in progress.

Officer Basner observed two offenders exiting the bank, gave chase and later discovered $93,100 in cash taken in the robbery.

While chasing to the offenders, Basner was able to provide a detailed description of both offenders to responding units.

Commander Jamraz quickly responded to the area and performed a street stop of one of the offenders.

The subject was apprehended and positively identified as the offender in the bank robbery. He was charged with aggravated robbery.

Child death and person shot

Sergeant Ryan Glew and Detective Jeremy Nieman, honorable mentions for two incidents.

On July 7, 2008, an 11-month old child was transported to the hospital for a possible seizure.

The child succumbed to her injuries and a death investigation began.

The two officers immediately worked on a search warrant for the residence to allow processing for evidence and were in constant contact with the state’s attorney’s office.

The officers’ investigative efforts led to a confession from the person responsible for the death of this child.

On Sept. 18, 2007, police received calls of a person shot in the 800 block of Case Street.

An intensive investigation was undertaken over the course of the following weeks.

Numerous witnesses and neighbors were contacted and interviewed and on-going contact was made with the victim’s family.

By utilizing their investigative skills Sergeant Glew and Detectie Nieman ware able to identify the shooter and the driver of the vehicle involved in the shooting. Both were charged with attempted murder and aggravated battery with a firearm.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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1 Comment

  1. Great work Officers!
    Mr. Baptiste….are you listening? These are the men and women that serve you and this city. I repeat some of my earlier post about your apathy at this award ceremony.

    “I too attended the Annual Police Awards…The above mentioned reports sound more like a dramatic television show than real life. However, it was and is REAL LIFE !…I noticed, in the back ground, the complete look of disdain on the face of Alderman Baptiste… I can’t say that he never applauded,however he seemed to be determined not to release his folded arms and show his appreciation for our cities heroes. Mr. Baptiste, I wonder if you noticed the young Officer proudly accept his award from the Mayor with a bandaged hand? Well sir, he is the Officer who lost his ring finger during the armed confrontation just 1 week prior. Did you notice the loud applause for him as he approached the front of the room? You couldn’t even find it in yourself to contribute to this? Mr. Baptiste…shame on you. Your public display of condescension was well noticed by many. And this includes members of the Evanston Police Department, their mothers, fathers, sisters,brothers, and children. You sir, should be ashamed.”

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