Illinois Chiefs honored law enforcement officials statewide at annual banquet 

August 23, 2021

The event wrapped up the 2021 Annual Conference, which brought together hundreds of police chiefs and other law enforcement officials this week in Tinley Park.

The Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police held its annual awards banquet on Friday, Aug. 20, at the Tinley Park Convention CenterAward recipients from 2020 and 2021 were honored, including: 

Patrolman Jeffrey A. Bieber of the East Peoria Police Department, named 2021 Most Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.

Officer Bieber was recognized for his bravery during a domestic disturbance in East Peoria. While responding to the incident, Bieber was stabbed multiple times in the head and neck by Joshua Crites damaging nerves and hitting an artery, causing the officer to bleed profusely. After use of his taser failed to deescalate the scene, Officer Bieber was able to get to his firearm and discharge it successfully, ending the confrontation. Crites died on the scene. Bieber’s quick action ultimately saved his life and protected others from harm. 

Officer Bieber was taken to a local hospital with very serious injuries and spent several months recovering before finally returning to work. East Peoria Chief Rich Brodrick praised Officer Bieber not only for his sacrifice during and after the incident, but for being an outstanding officer serving and protecting the citizens of East Peoria every day. 

Springfield Police Chief Kenny Winslow, awarded the prestigious honor of 2021 Chief of the Year.

The award goes to a chief who excels in his or her own department and provides extraordinary service to the association. Winslow has been chief of the department since 2013 and serves as a leader locally and statewide in the association’s collaboration with the NAACP Illinois State Conference. The partnership led to the creation of Ten Shared Principles between NAACP and a ILACP, designed to build trust between law enforcement and communities of color. 

Winslow and his department have implemented many community policing initiatives, including  partnering with The Outlet Mentoring Group for their annual Bridging the Gap barbecue with  residents, the NAACP and NOBLE on their “Know Your Rights” and “Law and You” programs,  Lights in the Mirror program, Coffee with Cops, Halloween Safety Event, Focused Deterrence,  Community Staff Walks, National Night Out, Teen Police Academy, school reading programs  and much more. The department’s Annual Beards and Badges campaign has raised over $26,000 in  the past five years for the American Cancer Society to support research into women’s and men’s  health.  Winslow is active in his community and participates in many events and serves on  various boards, including Memorial Behavioral Health and Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm  System’s Executive Board. Springfield was the first major department in Illinois to use body cameras, and Winslow has been a leading voice in the Illinois Chiefs association in making recommendations for how the cameras can be used most successively in Illinois. In  2020, Winslow released the department’s detailed “Pledge to Professionalism,” a broad-based approach to policing, alternatives to incarceration, co-responder programs, and strong commitments to accountability and transparency. 

Twelve members of the Crystal Lake Police Department, honored as the 2019 Most Outstanding Law Enforcement Officers of the Year. 

These outstanding officers were recognized for their work solving the case of a 5-year-old boy, Andrew “AJ” Freund, who was murdered in 2019.  Both of AJ’s parents, JoAnn Cunningham and Andrew Freund, Sr., were eventually charged with homicide in connection with the boy’s death. On the morning of April 18, 2019, the parents of AJ Freund reported little AJ as missing.

They called the Crystal Lake police and said they had put the child to bed the night before at 9:30 p.m., and when they checked on him in the morning, he was nowhere to be found. AJ did not turn up in a search of the house that morning. In their first reports, the police noted that the house was in disarray; there were mouse droppings on AJ’s bedsheets and on the floor of his room. It was later revealed that the police and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) had been to that house many times. 

The day the body was found, the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI, Jeffrey Sallet, was at the press conference with Crystal Lake Chief James R. Black. Agent Sallet congratulated the Crystal Lake police department for its incredible professionalism in working to solve this case. The 12 officers recognized were Sergeant Mike Gasparaitis, Detective Frank Houlihan, Detective David Eitel, Detective Jason Duncan, Detective Dimitri Boulahanis, Detective Russ Will, Detective Jeff Mattson, Officer Chris Sanders, Officer Zachary Morse, Officer Scott Torkelson, Officer Mike Maloney, Commander Ron Joseph.  

Illinois’ Attorney General Kwame Raoul, a Democrat from Chicago, was named the 2021 Public Official of the Year by the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.

Attorney General Raoul worked collaboratively with the Illinois Chiefs and other law enforcement leaders over a period of months beginning last summer to strengthen Illinois’ process of decertifying police officers. Raoul then facilitated numerous Zoom meetings with the Illinois Chiefs and other law enforcement leaders to draft a bill acceptable to all.

“He immediately shared his draft language with us late last year, and we proceeded to communicate openly, going back and forth, and we finally had a bill that we supported,” Crystal Lake Chief James Black, then ILACP president said. “This process worked very well. It was a great way to develop legislation that benefits Illinois.” Most of that language supported by the Illinois Chiefs became part of the 764-page omnibus criminal justice reform law (HB 3653) that passed on January 13 and that Governor Pritzker signed on February 22, 2021. Although the Illinois Chiefs ultimately opposed the bill, Raoul was able to influence some favorable elements through the collaboration.  

State Representative Patrick Windhorst (R-Metropolis) was also recognized as a Public Official of the Year for his collaborative work with the association. 

Windhorst has the unique distinction of being recognized by the Illinois Chiefs for his outstanding work during his first term as a state representative. He had served as Massac County state’s attorney before entering the Illinois General Assembly in 2019. He quickly distinguished himself as a supporter of law enforcement. Rep. Windhorst served as a vocal advocate for the Illinois Chief’s perspective regarding HB 3653. He serves on the House Judiciary-Criminal Committee and the new Restorative Justice Committee, both of which are very important to the Illinois Chiefs. Windhorst was not able to attend the banquet, but a plaque was presented to Rep. Windhorst by Ed Wojcicki, ILACP Executive Director at the Illinois State Capitol on Aug. 31, 2021. A list of previous winners of Public Official of the Year can be found here.   

Government relations executive, Chris Nybo, received the 2021 Laurence P. Mulcrone Public Private Partnership Award.

The prestigious award is presented to an individual who has worked with the private security industry to assist law enforcement. Nybo, a former Illinois State Senator and Representative and president of Chris Nybo, LLC., was recognized for the many ways that he has built bridges between law enforcement and the private and corporate security industry. The firm represents the Illinois Security Professionals Association (ISPA), an association representing the security industry throughout the State of Illinois. Nybo has also been recognized by Reuter’s as a Super Lawyer in government relations annually for the last three years. 

ILACP also recognized the 16 fallen officers killed in the line of duty during 2019 and 2020. Families of those officers were presented a medal honoring the officers who lost their lives as a result of honorable and duty-related service.  The event concluded the 2021 Annual Conference which brought together hundreds of police chiefs and other law enforcement officials this week in Tinley Park for trainings, board meetings, speakers and networking opportunities.  ILACP’s keynote speaker was Dr. Lorenzo Boyd, a faculty member at University of New Haven, who presented, “Policing Post George Floyd: How Did We Get Here, And Where Do We Go Now?”  

Due to past COVID-19 cancellations, the conference was combined this year with the Midwest Expofeaturing over 100 vendors who presented products and services designed to help law enforcement professionals.  

About Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police  

Since 1941, ILACP has served as the professional development association for Chiefs of Police and other community leaders committed to public safety in Illinois. The statewide organization serves 1200 members working in more than 450 agencies, providing them with innovative services, training, and partnerships. ILACP advocates for legislation and policies that protect and improve police forces and the communities they serve.