SPRINGFIELD, IL - Thirty-four Illinois law enforcement officers were awarded the Law Enforcement Medal of Honor today during a ceremony at the Executive Mansion in Springfield. Three of the medals were awarded to the families of officers who lost their lives in the line of duty. The annual awards ceremony honors law enforcement officers who have distinguished themselves by exhibiting bravery at the risk of their own lives above and beyond the call of duty.
“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 Governor Rod R. 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.”
“As we recognize one of our own fallen officers, Sergeant Rodney Miller, 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.”
Medal of Honor Award recipients include:
• Sergeant Jon J. Brough, Belleville Police Department
• Officer Jeffrey A. Sheary, Belleville Police Department
• Officer Timothy J. Cline, Bethalto Police Department
• Officer Henry P. Maxeiner, Bethalto Police Department
• Captain Gerard J. Carroll, Chicago Police Department
• Sergeant Richard Sliva, Chicago Police Department
• Officer Harold W. Bone, Chicago Police Department
• Officer Michael J. Brosnan, Chicago Police Department
• Officer Joseph Ferraro, Chicago Police Department
• Officer Darren N. Crowder, Chicago Police Department
• Officer Tremayne R. Hall, Chicago Police Department
• Officer John R. Lally, Chicago Police Department
• Officer Geoffrey L. Woitel, Chicago Police Department
• Officer Thomas W. Ryan, Chicago Police Department
• Officer Eric Solorio (posthumously), Chicago Police Department
• Officer Michael R. Specht, Chicago Police Department
• Master Sergeant David J. Mahon, Illinois State Police
• Deputy Lyle L. Gentry, Jasper County Sheriff’s Office
• Sergeant Rodney T. Miller (posthumously), Illinois State Police
• Sergeant Devin J. Stokes, Illinois State Police
• Trooper Peter Radulovic, Illinois State Police
• Special Agent David B. Shearer, Illinois State Police
• Officer Thomas T. Wood (posthumously), Maywood Police Department
• Officer William A. Callo, New Lenox Police Department
• Officer Andrew P. Dowding, New Lenox Police Department
• Officer Jose D. Vasquez, New Lenox Police Department
• Officer Brian M. Wojowski, New Lenox Police Department
• Officer William C. Duggan, Orland Park Police Department
• Officer Jason J. DoBran, Rockford Police Department
• Officer Oda T. Poole, Rockford Police Department
• Officer Justin A. Bultema, South Holland Police Department
• Officer Brock H. Butcher, Springfield Police Department
• Officer Robert D. Byrne, Springfield Police Department
• Officer Gerry D. Castles, Springfield Police Department
Sergeant Jon J. Brough
Belleville Police Department
After murdering his in-laws on November 9, 2006, the suspect escaped from the area. On November 10, his truck was located at a Belleville residence and reported to police. Belleville Sgt. Jon Brough and several members of the Tactical Response Team arrived at the scene and attempted to take the suspect into custody. As Sgt. Brough attempted entry into the residence through a door that had been barricaded, he was shot in the face with a shotgun. After undergoing numerous surgeries and reconstructive procedures to save his life, he survived the ordeal, but not without a heavy price. Sgt. Brough permanently lost sight in both eyes and his sense of smell. The suspect consequently shot himself while still inside the residence.
Officer Jeffrey A. Sheary
Belleville Police Department
While on patrol on January 4, 2006, Belleville Police Officer Jeffrey Sheary heard a broadcast of a possible robbery in progress. After locating a vehicle matching the description, he found the female driver pulled onto the shoulder of the interstate after experiencing car trouble. A male then walked up to the passenger’s side of the vehicle and displayed a handgun, demanding to be let into the car. After entering the car, the suspect pointed the gun at the driver and told her to drive. As she exited the roadway for gas, a friend of the victim called on her cell phone. The driver was able to answer the phone without putting it to her ear, allowing her friend to hear the conversation with the suspect. The friend then alerted the Illinois State Police who then called the victim’s cell phone and were also able to overhear the conversation. As Officer Sheary approached the vehicle, the armed suspect fled on foot, with Officer Sheary in pursuit. After ignoring the officer’s verbal commands, the suspect turned and fired a 9 mm handgun three times at Officer Sheary who sought cover and returned fire, striking the suspect. The suspect had a long criminal record, including two penitentiary terms.
Officer Timothy J. Cline
Officer Henry P. Maxeiner
Bethalto Police Department
On October 14, 2006, the Bethalto Police and Fire Departments were dispatched to a medical emergency at a residence involving a suicidal man who had sprayed a chemical into his mouth and had passed out on the front lawn. Upon their arrival, Bethalto Police Officers Cline and Maxeiner found the man inside holding a propane blow torch. The subject, who had subsequently doused himself with a spray urethane, had disconnected the gas to the appliances and was threatening to blow up the house in an attempt to kill himself and the officers. As Officer Cline remained in the house and engaged the man in conversation, Officer Maxeiner exited the house and shut off the gas supply and began breaking windows to ventilate the house. The man then ran down to the basement and ignited himself. After returning to the house, Officer Maxeiner grabbed a blanket, and both officers smothered the fire by rolling the man in the blanket. Both Officers Cline and Maxeiner were treated due to the quantity of fumes they inhaled.
Captain Gerard J. Carroll
Chicago Police Department
On June 15, 2006, Chicago Police Department Capt. Gerard Carroll was at home cleaning his garage when he heard a woman screaming and calling for help. As he attempted to locate the female, he observed a female run across the alley. After retrieving his gun and cell phone, he returned to the alley and saw a male subject walk into the alley and shove an object into his back pocket. As the man walked across Capt. Carroll’s path, he observed a knife blade protruding from the man’s back pocket. After telling the subject to slow down, the subject began to run with Capt. Carroll in pursuit. Suddenly, the man stopped, turned, and pointed the knife at the officer who then pointed his gun at the subject, ordering him to drop the knife. The suspect threw the knife to the ground and again took off running. Capt. Carroll averted the subject’s attempt to escape by jumping on the man’s back and shoving him to the ground. The subject was then taken into custody and subsequently charged with first degree murder after the victim died of her stab would.
Sergeant Richard Sliva
Officer Harold W. Bone
Officer Michael J. Brosnan
Officer Joseph Ferraro
Chicago Police Department
On January 17, 2006, Chicago Police Department Sgt. Richard Sliva and Officers Harold Bone, Michael Brosnan, and Joseph Ferraro were conducting surveillance to capture a robbery crew wanted in seven armed robberies of Auto Zone stores. The officers watched as three individuals matching the description of previous robbery suspects enter the store around closing time. One individual was wearing a dust mask and using a key to lock the front door. After covering the perimeter of the store, the officers observed the offender at the front door with a revolver in his right hand and a set of keys in his left hand. As the subject unlocked the front door, one of the offenders noticed Sgt. Sliva and Officer Ferraro behind a small car and pointed his weapon toward the officers. Commands for him to retreat and drop the weapon were ignored. In fear of their safety and that of others, the four officers fired their weapons, fatally striking the offender. The two remaining offenders tried exiting through the back; however, they were taken into custody by responding units. Once inside the store, store employees were found in an office bound with duct tape and face down on the floor.
Officer Darren N. Crowder
Chicago Police Department
On July 16, 2006, three subjects conspired to carjack a vehicle they observed at a drive-through restaurant. Unknown to the offenders, the driver was an off-duty Chicago police officer. After arriving home and parking his car, Officer Darren Crowder saw the individuals drive past. Two of the individuals exited the vehicle and approached his car. Suspicious of the approaching subjects, the officer retrieved his weapon. As both subjects approached with weapons raised, Officer Crowder raised his weapon and ordered the offenders to the ground. The two offenders began running with Officer Crowder in pursuit when both subjects simultaneously turned and pointed their weapons at him. In fear of his life, Officer Crowder fired his weapon several times at each offender. The third offender, who was the driver of the mini-van, drove away. After instructing his family to call 9-1-1, Officer Crowder tried locating the offenders without success. As police arrived and conducted a search of the area, one offender was located lying next to a vehicle with gunshot wounds that resulted in his death. The other armed offender was located at a nearby hospital with a gunshot wound to the right leg. The driver of the mini-van turned himself in to the authorities. Both offenders were charged with felony murder and attempted aggravated vehicular hi-jacking.
Officer Tremayne R. Hall
Chicago Police Department
After responding to a “theft in progress” on June 3, 2006, Chicago Police Department Officer Tremayne R. Hall met with store security which advised that a male and female were seen on video surveillance placing several items into their jacket pockets. Officer Hall then observed the subjects attempt to walk past the last point of purchase without paying for the items and took the female offender into custody. When he approached the male offender to place him in handcuffs, the subject began resisting arrest. As the offender continued to fight Officer Hall, he reached into his pants pocket and pulled out a 9 mm semi-automatic handgun, pointing the weapon at the officer. Officer Hall then drew his service weapon and commanded the offender to drop his weapon but he refused all commands. Exhausting all other possibilities, Officer Hall fired his weapon at the offender, fatally wounding him.
Officer John R. Lally
Officer Geoffrey L. Woitel
Chicago Police Department
On June 12, 2006, Chicago Police Officers John Lally and Geoffrey Woitel responded to a “man with a gun” call. Once on the scene, both officers heard a woman screaming from inside a first floor apartment. As the officers attempted to gain entry to the apartment, they heard another door slam shut as the man dragged the woman out the back of the apartment in an attempt to elude police. The officers immediately went to the rear of the building when they heard someone yell, “He’s got a gun!” Officer Woitel saw the male subject holding the female around her neck and a gun pointed at her head while two other victims, a female and male child, were crouched down. Officer Woitel announced his office and ordered the male offender to drop the weapon several times with no compliance. After the offender made several threats to kill the female hostage, Officer Woitel fired one shot at the offender, striking him in the face, causing him to drop his weapon and release the female. The offender was then placed in to custody.
Officer Thomas W. Ryan
Chicago Police Department
On August 18, 2006, Chicago Police Officer Thomas Ryan and his partner approached a group of individuals on the street to conduct a field interview when one subject fled the scene. Officer Ryan, pursuing the subject on foot while his partner was in the unmarked squad car, chased the subject into adjacent Burbank. Officer Ryan was able to catch and subdue the subject who was in possession of a fully loaded .22 caliber snub-nose revolver and a quantity of suspect crack cocaine. As Officer Ryan had the offender on the ground at the rear of the squad, his partner stopped and exited the vehicle when it suddenly rolled backwards, knocking Officer Ryan to the ground, pinning him on top of the offender beneath the hot exhaust system and frame of the vehicle. Responding officers acted swiftly and were able to lift the car with a jack. Officer Ryan was admitted to the hospital in serious condition for multiple lacerations to his face and body, including swelling and bruising to his torso, punctures to both lungs, five fractured ribs, and multiple skin and scalp injuries. Officer Ryan has endured numerous surgeries as well as treatment for third degree burns.
Officer Eric Solorio
Chicago Police Department
While riding as the passenger in his squad car on January 17, 2006, Chicago Police Officer Eric Solorio and his partner observed a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed. As the officers were in pursuit and attempting to curb the vehicle, the squad car spun out of control and struck a tree. After struggling for weeks and enduring numerous surgeries, Officer Solorio tragically succumbed to his injuries on February 12, 2006, at the age of 26.
Officer Michael R. Specht
Chicago Police Department
While driving with a ride-along passenger on July 7, 2006, Chicago Police Officer Michael Specht was engaged in conversation with the passenger about the passenger’s aspirations of becoming a Chicago Police Officer. After stopping at a stop sign and entering into the intersection, a sports utility vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed failed to stop, broad siding the squad car. The vehicle was crushed and pushed into a tree approximately 50-feet from the point of impact. Officer Specht had to be extricated from his vehicle and taken to the hospital in serious condition. After many months of rehabilitation, Officer Specht has recovered from his injuries.
Master Sergeant David J. Mahon
Illinois State Police
Deputy Lyle L. Gentry
Jasper County Sheriff’s Department
On September 8, 2007, Illinois State Police Master Sgt. David Mahon responded to a call of an armed suicidal subject brandishing a 12-gauge shotgun. After assessing the situation, Master Sgt. Mahon, utilizing his experience as a former Tactical Response Team member, established adequate cover and observation of the subject while deploying additional officers as an inner perimeter. Master Sgt. Mahon was able to establish a conversation with the subject who appeared to be intoxicated and refused to cooperate in surrendering his weapon. Eventually, the armed subject advanced within 15 feet of Master Sgt. Mahon, who repeatedly ordered the subject to put down his weapon. As the subject turned away and relaxed his grip on the shotgun, Master Sgt. Mahon lunged at the subject to grab the gun as Jasper County Deputy Lyle Gentry used a Taser, subduing him without injury.
Sergeant Rodney Miller
Illinois State Police
On May 12, 2006, Illinois State Police (ISP) Sgt. Rodney Miller was on-duty when he was involved in a two-car crash in rural Champaign County. Sgt. Miller received multiple traumatic injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the second vehicle was airlifted to an Urbana hospital where she was treated and released. At the time of his death, Sgt. Miller was the Commander of the Special Investigations Unit at ISP Zone 5 in Champaign.
Sergeant Devin Stokes
Trooper Peter Radulovic
Illinois State Police
On May 7, 2006, Illinois State Police Sgt. Devin Stokes and Trooper Peter Radulovic responded to a dispatch of a Chicago Police Department (CPD) squad car following a vehicle whose driver was wanted for unlawful use of a weapon. After a few minutes, the dispatch was cancelled. A short time later, Trooper Radulovic came upon a red, unmarked CPD squad car pinned against a light pole with the car’s front end fully engulfed in flames, making it difficult to see inside. Trooper Radulovic observed a subject in the passenger area of the squad car waving an automatic handgun and heard two shots being fired. Trooper Radulovic was unsure if the CPD squad car reported in the earlier dispatch was transporting the offender at the time of the accident and who could possibly have taken possession of one of their weapons in an attempt to escape during the confusion of the crash. He was able to verify that the squad car was in fact occupied by several plain clothes Chicago Police Department tactical officers and no offenders were in the vehicle. After notifying communications of the emergency situation, he attempted to extinguish the fire and gain entry to the vehicle to free the officers. All of the doors were damaged and would not open and the driver was pinned under the collapsed dashboard. Sgt. Devin Stokes arrived and assisted with rescue efforts. After breaking the right rear window, Sgt. Stokes and Trooper Radulovic were able to pull one of the occupants out through the window. The front seat passenger was able to free himself and exit the squad car.
Special Agent David B. Shearer
Illinois State Police
While traveling on a rural Christian County road on April 17, 2006, Illinois State Police Special Agent David Shearer came upon a traffic crash at an intersection. Upon approaching the accident scene, he observed a pickup lying on its top and a car on fire. After requesting medical and fire assistance, he approached the car and found the driver conscious and complaining of leg pain. With entry into the vehicle impossible from both front doors due to severe damage and intense heat, Special Agent Shearer was able to reach into the vehicle through the front window, cut the driver’s seatbelt, and remove her before the car became completely engulfed in flames.
Officer Thomas T. Wood
Maywood Police Department
On October 23, 2006, the Maywood Police Department responded to a call of an officer slumped over the steering wheel of his marked vehicle. Upon their arrival, officers discovered 37-year-old K-9 Officer Thomas Wood had been shot numerous times after notifying dispatchers a drug trafficking call he investigated was unfounded. His dog was found inside the vehicle unharmed. After being transported to the hospital, Officer Wood ultimately succumbed to his wounds. The murder investigation is continuing.
Officer William A. Callo
Officer Andrew P. Dowding
Officer Jose D. Vasquez
Officer Brian M. Wojowski
New Lenox Police Department
While initiating a traffic stop on December 7, 2006, New Lenox Police Officer William Callo observed the driver pull into the rear parking lot of a high school and hesitate before stopping. Officer Callo cautiously approached the driver’s side of the vehicle when he observed the offender pointing a semi-automatic pistol toward him and immediately began firing. Officer Callo, who retreated for cover behind his vehicle, was shot in his upper right leg but was able to return fire and radio for assistance. As the driver remained in his vehicle and continued to fire shots, Officer Callo was able to direct civilians away from the scene and continue to engage the offender in a gun battle. After Officer Andrew Dowding arrived on the scene, he was shot in the left shoulder. Although both officers were wounded, they were able to keep the offender within his vehicle, thus denying him access to the school where night classes and school activities were taking place. Officer Brian Wojowski arrived on the scene and flanked the offender’s vehicle from the opposite side while Officer Jose Vasquez arrived and joined Officers Callo and Dowding. After coordinating their efforts, Officer Wojowski was able to shoot through the passenger door of the vehicle forcing the offender to exit his vehicle and continue firing at the officers. Officer Dowding was shot again, this time in the upper right leg, as the officers engaged in a final exchange of gunfire. The offender fell to the ground and dropped his weapon. Despite his gun shot wounds, the subject still resisted being taken into custody. As the offender was arrested, Officer Callo, bleeding from his leg wound, dragged Officer Dowding approximately one block where medical assistance was starting to arrive. The offender was pronounced dead at the hospital while Officers Callo and Dowding were able to recover from their wounds.
Officer William C. Duggan
Orland Park Police Department
On February 3, 2006, off-duty Orland Park Police Officer William Duggan observed a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction come across the road into his lane, exit the road and proceed into a vacant field. The car then began to circle around and head back toward the roadway, causing other vehicles to take evasive action. As the car passed Officer Duggan, he observed that there did not appear to be a driver in the vehicle, which was now bouncing off the curbs. Officer Duggan exited his vehicle and began running along side the out-of-control vehicle when he noticed a female driver slumped over on the seat and not responding as he repeatedly struck his fist on the window. The vehicle’s doors were locked and he could not gain entry. The vehicle then veered sharply, went up and over the opposite side curb, and off the roadway, descending an embankment toward a large pond, plunging into the water. Officer Duggan yelled to a man who had stopped to help to see if he had anything to break the car’s window as the car was now beginning to float out and away from him. After obtaining a “claw like” hammer from the bystander, he jumped into the frigid water, sinking up to his neck. The car was now floating out further with the back end jutting up. He was able to break the driver’s side window. While hanging onto the side of the vehicle, Officer Duggan released the unresponsive driver’s restraint belt, but was unable to pull her out of the vehicle. As the interior compartment was filling with water and the vehicle began sinking, he was able to hold the driver’s head above the water until two citizens came to his aid. The driver was extracted from the car and pulled safely to shore before the car sank. Paramedics revived the woman and transported her to the hospital. She was later released and has fully recovered.
Officer Jason J. DoBran
Officer Oda T. Poole
Rockford Police Department
While investigating a stabbing June 16, 2006, Rockford Police Officers Jason DoBran and Oda Poole heard cries for help from a next-door apartment. A woman was holding an infant in her arms yelling from an upper-level window as black smoke came from the apartment. After rescuing the mother and infant, Officer Pole learned others remained inside and attempted entrance to the burning home through an exterior door, but was unsuccessful. In a short time, the door was opened and an adult male staggered out and stated, “My kids are upstairs, can you get them out?” Officer Poole then approached the open door and could hear young voices coming from inside. He entered the house and could see what appeared to be furniture burning in the living room. He followed the voices up a staircase and found a small boy at the top of the stairs crying and carried him to an open window and handed him to fire personnel. He then located a little girl standing in a bedroom doorway and also handed her out the window to fire personnel. After all occupants were moved to safety, Officer Poole tried exiting out the window but found the opening was too small. Fire personnel were able to smash a nearby window and loosen its frame, allowing him to escape. Officer Poole was treated at the hospital and released. Unknown to Officer Poole, Officer DoBran had followed him into the burning house to assist with the rescue and had lost him in the process, but was able to find a male occupant who had re-entered the apartment. Officer DoBran helped the subject to his feet and assisted him to safety.
Officer Justin A. Bultema
South Holland Police Department
On January 24, 2006, South Holland Police Officer Justin Bultema observed a male subject with a gun in a motel parking lot attempting to hijack a car. Officer Bultema ordered the offender, at gun point, to exit the vehicle and submit to arrest. The armed offender then exited the vehicle and pointed the gun at Officer Bultema who fired one shot, wounding the offender in the leg. The victims of the hijacking were found to be safe, while the offender was charged with one count of felony aggravated vehicular hijacking.
Officer Brock H. Butcher
Officer Robert D. Byrne
Officer Gerry D. Castles
Springfield Police Department
On January 10, 2006, members of the United States Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force received information that a subject wanted for murder was located at a Springfield residence. The subject, who was reported to be armed with two handguns and carried another in his waistband, had stated he was not going back to prison. Springfield Police Department Emergency Response Team Officers Brock Butcher, Robert Byrne and Gerry Castles entered the residence along with other officers. As the lead officer, Officer Butcher was carrying a ballistic shield, and as he moved down the hallway he observed a doorway to the right. When he looked inside the room, he observed the subject beginning to stand, armed with a handgun. Officer Butcher ordered the subject to the ground, but when he refused and raised the handgun in the officer’s direction, he fired his duty handgun. At the same time, Officers Byrne and Castles entered the doorway and observed the subject armed with a handgun and pointing it in their direction. They also ordered the subject to the ground, and when he again refused, fired at the subject, fatally wounding him.
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.