The Highland Moose Lodge, Rotary Club and Optimist Club honored three members of local law enforcement during the annual Jule Luber Respect for Law Banquet, held May 16 at the Highland Pistol & Rifle Club.
The clubs annually honor local law enforcement personnel, as well as local citizens who support them, during the banquet, which includes an awards ceremony and steak fry. The banquet is named for Julius B. "Jule" Luber, a retired Illinois State Police sergeant, businessman and civic leader in Highland, who passed away in January of 2003.
Two relatively new HPD employees were honored for the roles they plan in the department, as well as a longtime Illinois State Police trooper.
David McCain Award
Ken McCoy is one of the newer members of HPD. He received the Southern Illinois Police Chiefs Association Outstanding Officer Award during the SWIC Police Academy Session 129 Graduation in the spring of 2016. While at the academy, McCoy also took the Jeremy Chambers Top-Gun Firearms Award, the High Academic Award and was chosen as the class president.
"Ken embodies the qualities and effort that make outstanding officers. He consistently displays a positive attitude, regardless of the situation or circumstances," said Highland Police Chief Terry Bell, who presented McCoy with the Highland Police Department David McCain Officer. The award is named for the only Highland Police officer to ever be killed in the line of duty.
Since he joined HPD, McCoy was been at the top of the department in his self-initiated activity on patrol. He was involved in over 1,000 incidents last year, made 129 traffic stops, conducted 66 pedestrian checks and made 69 arrests.
"More importantly, he takes pride in being out in the community, especially on foot patrol," Bell said. "His face-to-face contact with citizens has fostered new and important relationships while, at the same time, been a mechanism to gather vital intelligence about criminal activities."
McCoy is also a bicycle officer, assisted with the bike rodeo, and served in the Christmas with a Cop program, among his other charitable endeavors.
"Overall, Ken epitomizes what we look for in an officer from the criminal enforcement aspect to the community policing ideals. We are pleased to have Ken in our organization and would be fortunate indeed to hire future candidates who possess these similar qualities," Bell said.
The Optimist Law Enforcement Award went to Illinois State Police Master Sgt. Charles Tolbert.
Tolbert is currently assigned as the midnight north platoon supervisor at ISP District 11 in Collinsville. Prior to that, he was assigned to SWAT for the past 17 years.
"While in his assignment with SWAT, he acted as the team leader and squad leader for high-risk operations and critical incidents. In these positions, he was solely responsible for planning, briefing, and coordinating SWAT operations," said Bob Dunn of the Highland Optimist Club, who presented the award. "Master Sgt. Tolbert has strong leadership qualities and has the ability to lead subordinates in times of uncertainty."
Courtney Yearian was named the Highland Police Department Telecommunicator of the Year.
"While Courtney is relatively new to the position, she has excelled in her time with the department. Her work ethic, attention to details, and terrific attitude have made her an indispensable addition," said Mike Elliott of the Highland Moose Lodge, who presented the award. "Courtney works well with all personnel within the department and the citizens we serve. She displays a positive, caring attitude and is willing to train new hires while preparing them to go above and beyond the basics. This is evident as she dispenses information to the officers. She often has suspect details and background information ready for officers before they can even request it."
Beyond the scope of the Highland Police Department, Yearian also works for the Madison County 911 office as a quality assurance reviewer to ensure that telecommunicators throughout the county are improving in their professionalism.
"We feel Courtney displays the qualities that we would like all employees to emulate," Elliott said.