A detective, a paramedic and a telecommunicator are this year’s O’Fallon Department of Public Safety employees of the year.
The annual awards event was held Thursday, Dec. 7 with the three honorees.
O’Fallon Police Chief Eric Van Hook said selection was based on the following factors: leadership abilities, personal and professional accomplishments, community and organization contributions and, whether or not, candidates demonstrate sound understanding of their department’s mission.
“All of our recipients have an incredible work ethic and are model employees for our organization,” Van Hook said.
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Telecommunicator Jared Runyun was honored as the 2017 Civilian of the Year for his “unparalleled level of professionalism,” Van Hook said.
In 2017, Runyun developed a comprehensive, in-house training program for all incoming telecommunicators in O’Fallon, who maintain the pulse of the front lines for first responders.
Runyun’s work ethic and attitude were “second to none” as the newly consolidated communications center was being lifted off the ground, Van Hook said.
Runyun also serves as a volunteer firefighter with the East Side Fire Protection District.
“There, he assists other firefighters in learning the latest techniques to fight fires and ensure their safety,” said Support Services Supervisor Daryl Ostendorf.
“We are extremely proud of the hard work and dedication to the community TC Runyun has demonstrated throughout his career. We are lucky to have him serving the citizens of O’Fallon,” Van Hook said.
Ostendorf said Runyun’s skills even extend to the kitchen.
“In our communications center, part of Jared’s notoriety comes from his baking skills. Yes, cinnamon rolls, chocolate chip cookies, and pizzas are among the many items.”
Brian Gimpel, OPD detective, was awarded the 2017 Officer of the Year.
“He is tenacious and has a natural ability when it comes to law enforcement,” Van Hook said.
This isn’t the first time Gimpel has been honored for his hard work. He was also Employee of the Year in 2001, which was his first full year on the force.
“(I) was given the award based on my proactive enforcement in the patrol division related to criminal and DUI arrests and getting involved with community events such as Law Enforcement Torch Run and Fraternal Order of Police events,” Gimpel recalled.
This time around, Van Hook said that Gimpel was honored for being instrumental in the investigation of several high-profile cases in the past year.
Gimpel played an integral role the arrest of an alleged serial bank robber in February. Gimpel used video surveillance, investigative tools and social media to track the suspect across the St. Clair County, according to Van Hook.
“The arrest, conviction and federal prosecution of this suspect is a direct result of Detective Gimpel’s investigative skills,” Van Hook said.
Quarterbacking as lead detective on a case of a string of armed robberies stretching over three states in April, Gimpel also worked closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to create a timeline of the suspect’s crime spree, leading to federal indictment of all three.
“Simply stated, Brian hates to see people get away with any crime. He will work every angle and use every resource he has to ensure justice is served,” Van Hook said.
Advocating for athletes with disabilities, Gimpel is very active with Special Olympics.
“As the (Special Olympics) coordinator for OPD, he has helped the O’Fallon Police Department raise nearly $100,000 over the past three years,” Van Hook said.
He also organized a safety program for our schools and churches and participated in several community outreach programs like Cones with a Cope, Coffee with a Cop, Citizen’s Police Academy, Policeman’s Ball and many more.
“We are extremely proud of the hard work and dedication to the community Detective Gimpel has demonstrated throughout his career. We are lucky to have him serving the citizens of O’Fallon,” Van Hook said.
“None of it would be possible without the participation of members within our department and the support of our business partners and our citizens,” said Gimpel. “My wife and daughters probably deserve an award for putting up with all the activities I am involved in.”
Paramedic Timothy McClain is the 2017 Emergency Medical Services Employee of the Year.
Retiring after 20 years with an E7 rank in the United States Air Force, McClain served as a senior flight medic supervising aviation medical teams for the treatment of wounded and ill soldiers.
Jeremy Sherman, EMS supervisor, said McClain was initially hired into a part-time paramedic role with the O’Fallon-Shiloh EMS during his transition to civilian life, but eventually climbed to full time.
“During his short tenure, Tim was able to form the area’s first EMS Explorer program. It was becoming very apparent Tim was on a fast track to be an integral part of our team,” Sherman said.
Always early for his shifts to ensure all units and crew are ready to respond at a moment’s notice, McClain is a daily self-starter who demonstrates a solid work ethic all while maintaining a positive attitude, according to Sherman.
“Tim performs exemplary patient care, along with thorough report writing, (and) he stays abreast with the newest concepts in pre-hospital medicine and remains up-to-date with training,” Sherman said.
This year, McClain continued “to demonstrate his passion for training” by obtaining his National Academy of EMS Educators certificate, Sherman said.
As a higher education instructor at Southwestern Illinois College, McClain teaches future EMTs, as well as instructs new paramedics as a Region IV field training officer.
“In addition, Tim has been a valuable part of our crew leader and QRV programs,” Sherman said.
Recently, McClain was appointed to the position of EMS supervisor.
“Tim understands the organization’s vision, always staying true to the department’s mission,” Sherman said. “Tim’s passion to move O’Fallon-Shiloh EMS forward, as well as his commitment to the organization, sets him apart as a true leader.”