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Officers honored for outstanding efforts

Updated: March 14, 2014 8:39AM



From live-saving feats to crime-stopping endeavors, 22 Aurora police officers will be honored for their actions later this month during the department’s Employee of the Year Award ceremony.

The ceremony, which takes place at 3 p.m. on Feb. 20 inside the community room at the Aurora Police Department, will honor those who have gone above and beyond the call of duty during 2013.

Those honored are being recognized from their work on murder cases, to the off-duty rescue of a 2-year-old girl following a near fatal car crash, and the indictment of 20 people following a 16-month drug and weapons trafficking investigation, police said.

The following officers have been nominated for the distinction:

Investigator Steve Stemmet for his work in a 16-month investigation into firearms and narcotics trafficking that led to multiple indictments against 20 individuals.

Detectives Jeff Koenings, Len Casamassimo, and Guillermo Trujillo, along with Investigations Sgt. Matt Thomas, for their work related to the murder investigation of 18-year-old Abigail Villalpando of Aurora.

Officer Derrick Hight for his efforts to save the life of a 4-month-old baby at a home just outside Aurora’s city limits. Though out of his jurisdiction, Hight responded and was the first on scene. The infant did not survive.

Officer Melissa Lindsay for her off-duty efforts in saving an elderly man who had had a heart attack while attending a play at Jewel Middle School in North Aurora.

Investigators Nick Gartner, Dave Tellner, Josh Sullivan, Clark Johnson, and Abel Villanueva for actions that led to charges being filed against an Aurora man who allegedly robbed two Aurora gas stations.

Investigator Villanueva and Investigator Cottrell Webster for capturing two suspects involved in a theft ring that targeted catalytic converters.

Officers Greg Spayth and Mark Carey for capturing an alleged bank robber who held up two different Aurora banks.

Sgts. Dan Eppard and Rick Ahlgren for saving the lives of five young rafters on the Vermillion River while the pair were off duty.

Officer Kyle Hoffman for capturing two men who had allegedly broke into a West Side residence and beat a woman with a hammer.

Officer Chris Grandchamp and Lt. John Fichtel for saving the life of an Aurora man who attempted to commit suicide.

Sgt. Bill Rowley for saving the life of a 2-year-old girl who was severely injured in a car crash.

Officer Marcin Lemanski for catching the alleged robber of an Aurora convenience store despite originally receiving inaccurate information about the suspect.

Seven officers, who along with six Aurora firefighters, saved the life of a 14 -year-old girl who nearly drowned after a car she was in crashed into a retention pond. The officers, all of whom received Medals of Valor, the department’s highest honor, include Investigators Greg Christoffel, Ed Doepel, Nick Gartner, Jeff Hahn, Erik Swastek, and Josh Sullivan and Officer Chris Coronado.



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