Seven local police officers receive state FOP awards

By Blake Schnitker on November 14 at 8:58am

More than a half dozen area police officers were recognized by the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police State Lodge at last night’s city council meeting.

On a night with a rather light agenda, seven local officers from both the Jacksonville Police Department and Morgan County Sheriff’s Office received awards from the state FOP lodge.

Two officers received the FOP Valor Award for rescuing two elderly residents during a residential fire in Jacksonville earlier this year. Jacksonville Police Lieutenant Dave Langdon and Patrolman Ryan Dudley crawled through a smoke-filled residence on East Morton back in June to rescue an elderly couple, one of whom was bedridden, despite not having any protective breathing equipment.

Jacksonville Police Chief Adam Mefford says that award attests to the bravery of the officers in the department.

“That’s just a testament to the caliber of officers we have in the police department, willing to put their lives on the line to save the lives of others, I couldn’t be more proud of them. Law Enforcement is a dangerous thing, and to be involved in a fire – our training doesn’t carry us into firefighter training – for them to do that and put their lives on the line is a testament to their bravery,” says Mefford.

Five other officers received the FOP’s Meritorious Service Award for a cooperative investigation that saw as much as $75,000 worth of stolen merchandise and seizure of drugs in February. Those officers included Lieutenant Brent Penner of the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department, as well as Chief Mefford and detectives Sean Haefeli, Kyle Chumley and Scott Erthal of the Jacksonville Police Department.        Mefford says the Meritorious Service Award is a good example of multiple agencies working together throughout an extensive investigation.

“That was a joint investigation between the Jacksonville Police Department, the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office and the Morgan County State’s Attorney, we also got some assistance from the Illinois State Police in that investigation. It was a very methodical investigation that spanned several weeks. We were able to recover between $75,000 and $100,000 worth of property of the citizen’s of Morgan County. We were also able to get a conviction and send that individual to prison. It was a good joint investigation and really shows the dedication of all the officers and their willingness to work together with the different agencies within the county,” Mefford says.

Aside from the FOP awards, also at last night’s meeting, aldermen approved a resolution of support for an application for Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program, or ITEP funds that would be used to upgrade parts of East State Street to go along with the rest of the downtown revitalization project. The council also passed a resolution approving an agreement for a bio solids management program at the Wastewater Treatment Plant, as well as as a lime residuals management program at the Water Treatment Plant.