Shown at the Officer of the Year event on Feb. 15 (left to right) from front: Alderman Jim Puckett, Loves Park Mayor Greg Jury, Police Chief Chuck Lynde. On the left from the front are: Alderman Clint Little, Deputy Chief Mike McCammond, and Charlene Freezeland.

By Margaret Downing


The Clifford R. Johnson VFW Post No. 9759 once again held its yearly “Law Enforcement Recognition Night” on February 15 in Loves Park.

The Officer of the Year winners were announced and honored:

-City of Loves Park Police Department: Patrol Officer Brady Bailey

-Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department: Deputy Chad Devore, Senior Deputy John French, and Senior Corrections Officer Brian Klus were all honored and recipients of a commemorative plaque for outstanding work in the law enforcement field.

Loves Park Police Chief Chuck Lynde had this to say about Patrol Officer Bailey:

“He was nominated by his Sergeant, Josh Hecker. Brady; a Loves Park native; and is a graduate of Christian Life High School and Bradley University where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice.”

Officer Bailey came onboard with Loves Park in September 2018 and said he feels honored to be able to serve the community he grew up in. He and his wife, Andrea, are new parents to a baby girl born in November.

Lynde continued: “Brady was hired by Loves Park to fill a patrol officer’s position. He graduated from Macon County Law Enforcement Training Center in January of this last year. After returning from the training Center, he began a 16-week Field Training Program within the department and on May 10 of 2019 was released from training to work a patrol shift.

“The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published a 2013 report in which they reported that highly visible officers enforcing laws in areas requiring a higher level of police responses have a direct impact on traffic safety, as well as crime reduction and prevention.

“Since being released from training in May, Brady has been a highly visible officer for our community. He responded to over 1,600 calls for service last year, which include self-initiated calls for service. Shortly after going out on his own, Brady handled a fatality involving a teenage pedestrian who was struck by multiple cars.

“He decided at that time that he would not ignore the dangers of intoxicated drivers. Brady made over 20 DUI arrests, of which over 70 percent of the motorist submitted to breathalyzer or chemical testing. Nearly all of the motorists who submitted to testing, tested at a Breath Alcohol Content of more than double the legal limit of .08…and many more were closer to triple the legal limit.

“Brady arrested more than 50 motorists whose driving privileges were revoked or suspended. During his patrols, he arrested a dozen people wanted on warrants, as well as many arrests for drug related charges, aggravated fleeing, domestic battery, weapons offenses, and burglaries.

“Brady is an even-tempered officer, who gets along well with his co-workers and the citizens he serves. He is very self-motivated and combined with great intuition he generates significant criminal arrests from traffic stops, as well as through other encounters with people.”

Facebook comments about honored Winnebago County Sheriff’s Deputies:

-“Deputy Devore was awarded Officer of the Year for his life saving actions. A suspect that had fled from police had driven his vehicle into a local river. The driver of the vehicle was floating downstream in a quickly moving current and was having a hard time staying afloat. After a couple failed attempts at grabbing a rope thrown by Deputy Devore he then risked his own safety by jumping into the river swimming to the individual and then pulling him to safety.

“Additionally Deputy Devore received another lifesaving award for his actions in an incident where he administered CPR to an unresponsive male subsequently saving his life. Deputy Devore has been with the Sheriff’s Department for seven years.

-“Senior Deputy French, Machesney Park Division, was awarded Officer of the Year for his life saving actions. A call came into the 911 Center for a suicidal subject. After arriving on scene Deputy French was able to obtain the subject’s phone number and took it upon himself to call him.

“During conversation it was confirmed the individual was suicidal. Deputy French was able to convince the suicidal subject to exit the residence unarmed and surrender to police. Senior Deputy French’s quick action and verbal skills led to a peaceful resolution to what could have resulted in a very tragic event. Senior Deputy French started his career as a corrections officer and has been a Deputy for 29 years.

-“Senior Corrections Officer Klus was awarded Officer of the a Year for his life saving actions. Senior Corrections Officer Klus was working within the corrections facility when he was approached by an inmate regarding another inmate having some health problems.

“Officer Klus found the inmate lying on his cell floor. He then took the time to assess what was going on and ask the inmate a number of questions regarding his medical history. It was determined that the individual was involved in an accident the night prior and had a head injury.

“Officer Klus notified corrections medical personal and the inmate was transported to the emergency room. It was learned that the inmate had suffered an aneurysm. If not for Officer Klus’ observations and intuition there is a significant chance the inmates condition would have been fatal. Senior Corrections Officer Klus has been with the Sheriff’s Department for 29 years.

Deputy Chief Gasparini presented Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department Challenge Coins to VFW members for their outstanding work and effort that they put into this annual event. Many thanks go out to all of the Veterans and those that assist them during the event.”

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