A Highland police officer was honored as the top cop in the department for the second straight year and an Illinois State Police trooper was honored by the Highland Optimist Club at the annual Respect For Law event held on Wednesday of last week at the Highland Pistol and Rifle Club.
The Highland Optimist, Highland Rotary and Highland Moose clubs sponsor the awards ceremony and steak fry as a tribute to area law enforcement personnel.
Optimist Officer of the Year
The recipient of the 2014 Optimist Law Enforcement Award was Illinois State Police trooper John Baudino.
Baudino has been with ISP since 2008. He became a canine officer in August 2013. He is also a control and arrest tactics instructor, as well as a field training officer with the IL State Police.
In 2014, Baudino made numerous felony arrests for possession of controlled substances and unlawful possession of firearms.
“Trooper Baudino is an excellent canine officer,” said Kevin Hemann of the Optimist Club in presenting the award. “He and his police canine, Villy, have tracked down and captured many dangerous suspects that have fled on foot and were attempting to escape capture.”
Hemann said Baudino was “skilled, diligent, and very successful” in his canine handling abilities.
“Trooper Baudino strives to help keep our local communities safe. The dedication Trooper Baudino gives to his duty is certainly worthy of the recognition as the 2014 Optimist Officer of the Year.”
HPD Officer of the Year
The 2014 David McCain Memorial Officer of the Year is Charles Allen.
The award is named for the only Highland police officer to lose his life in the line of duty.
This was the second year in a row, Allen earned the honor.
“Officer Allen is the type of officer that consistently performs at a high level. He comes to work on time, rarely uses sick leave and is a team player. He excels both as a uniformed police officer and a community volunteer,” said Highland Police Chief Terry Bell.
In 2014, Allen had the highest arrest rate among his peers with 174, the most traffic stops, and most self-initiated contacts in the department.
“His enforcement efforts and attention to detail are highly professional and an example to other officers in the department. All of this was accomplished while missing many weeks with a broken ankle,” Bell said.
In addition to his work at HPD, Allen also serves the community though being a volunteer soccer coach for the Highland Parks and Recreation Department and spearheading the Fraternal Order of Police softball tournament to benefit the Clinton County Disaster Relief Fund.
“Officer Allen has an excellent reputation in the Highland community at large,” Bell said. “He has also earned the respect of his fellow officers, co-workers, and supervisors through hard work, diligence, and a positive demeanor.”
Telecommunicator of the Year
The 2014 Telecommunicator of the Year, sponsored by the Highland Moose Club, is Brad Sutton.
“Brad does many vital duties as the initial police contact when victims and complainants reach out in need. As the 911 operator, police radio dispatcher, and clerical report writer, Brad excels throughout,” Bell said.
Bell said Sutton can be counted on to go the extra mile.
“Brad can always be counted on to make phone calls to get appointments made, dig deeper into a subjects past by searching numerous databases, and keeping organized records for the department,” he said.
Sutton also quickly became an excellent trainer for new telecommunicators.
“Brad’s sense of humor and humble disposition makes coming to work enjoyable for everyone else. We are glad we have him on our side and his excellent work ethic appreciated immensely,” Bell said.