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NEARLY 100 OFFICERS TO BE RECOGNIZED FOR COURAGE IN LINE OF DUTY

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010— From a police officer who broke up a violent suburban home invasion in progress to a pair of officers who used their bare hands to disarm a highly technical bomb, dozens of law enforcement officers from across Cook County will be honored for their bravery in a ceremony today.

Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart will present 44 Awards of Valor and 44 Awards of Merit at the Sheriff’s Law Enforcement Awards Ceremony, which takes place at 10 a.m. today at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St.

Additionally, Sheriff Dart will issue posthumous recognition to the families of four Chicago Police Department officers who were killed this year – Sgt. Alan Haymaker, Officer Thomas Wortham, Officer Thor Soderberg and Officer Michael Bailey.

Among others to be honored are Cook County Sheriff’s bomb technicians Matthew McCurrie and Thomas Cebulski, who carefully disarmed a bomb in Palatine in October 2009. The device, which could be activated remotely via cell phone, had numerous intricate components that would have led to a large explosion. Because of its delicate nature, they had to dress in bomb suits and with exposed bare hands, disarm the device by hand in a complicated and dangerous process.

Also recognized will be Calumet City Police Officers Donielle Redwanc and George Jones, who suffered numerous injuries in a January incident with a mentally impaired man causing a disturbance at a local school. Officer Redwanc found the man first and she verbally calmed him until Jones could arrive. But when the man saw Jones, he became agitated and attacked both of them. Despite using a Taser on him, the man continued fighting and wrestled for Jones’ weapon. Jones was temporarily knocked unconscious in the melee but came to and saw the man approaching Redwanc as she laid on the ground. Jones then shot and killed him.

Honors will also be bestowed upon Tinley Park Officer Kenneth Hill, who was first to respond to a violent April home invasion and entered the home, interrupting the attack. Another Tinley Park officer, Burton Montalbano, will be recognized for entering a burning home in January and rescuing an 87-year-old woman by carrying her out of the home, with the assistance of a neighbor.

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