Aurora’s Dean Tucker Named Kane County Police Officer of the Year
Aurora Police Officer Dean Tucker is the winner of the Louis Spuhler Award, the Kane County Chiefs of Police Association’s highest award for outstanding police work in 2015.
Tucker was selected from among 12 outstanding Kane County law enforcers and honored Wednesday (April 27, 2016) night during the annual Kane County Police Officer of the Year banquet at the Pheasant Run Resort. Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman was the featured speaker at the event hosted by the KCCPA and the Batavia Moose Lodge #682.
Tucker was chosen for his heroism in a rescue attempt on June 17, 2015, when officers were dispatched to the 1700 block of N. Edgelawn Avenue in Aurora reference a traffic crash. One of the vehicles involved in the crash had driven into the nearby retention pond.
According to the award summary, Tucker arrived on the scene and observed a vehicle in the roadway with obvious damage. He confirmed with citizens on scene that the other vehicle had proceeded into the retention pond and was totally submerged, then observed what appeared to be a body float to the surface about 40 yards from the shoreline.
Tucker called out to ask if the individual needed assistance. The individual did not respond and sank back under the water.
Tucker entered the water, stripped off his duty gear and swam out to the subject, a young girl, and wrapped his arm around her in an attempt to keep her afloat. Tucker could not feel the bottom of the pond, nor could he see or feel the vehicle.
As Tucker approached the shore, he became fatigued and called out to another officer. That officer waded out into the water up to his chest and pulled Officer Tucker and the girl to shore.
Aurora Lt. Keith Cross stated in his letter of recommendation that Tucker’s bravery and selflessness saved a young girl’s life.
“Had he not acted with the decisiveness that he did, this unfortunate tragedy would have been worse,” Cross said. “Officer Tucker disregarded his own safety to ensure the safety of this young girl.”
The Louis Spuhler Award is named after a retired lieutenant from the Kane County Sheriff’s Office who approached the Batavia Moose Lodge with an idea to recognize the top police officer in the county. Spuhler passed away before he could see his idea put into action, but the award was named in his honor. This was the 39th annual event.
Deputy Chief David Kintz, the Kane County Chiefs of Police Association Award Committee chair, said all 12 nominees were worthy of recognition.
“Our entire law enforcement community is proud of Officer Tucker and the heroic decision he made on that day,” he said. “All of the nominations were examples of excellent police work that officers all over Kane County provide each and every shift.”
Carole Cheney, chief of staff for Congressman Bill Foster, was one of the dignitaries on hand to congratulate the nominees. Foster will recognize all the nominees along with Tucker in the Congressional Record.
Nominees are as follows:
Aurora Police Department
- Officer Dean Tucker
- Officer Ronald McNeff
Batavia Police Department
- Sgt. Eric Blowers
- Officer Erika Stover
- Officer Justin Howe
- Officer Chris Potthoff
- Officer Mark Skorup
Elgin Police Department
- Detective Andrew Houghton
Illinois State Police District 15
- Trooper Gregory Melzer
Kane County Sheriff’s Office
- Lt. Brian McCarty
Montgomery Police Department
- Sgt. Elizabeth Palko
West Dundee Police Department
- Lt. Anthony Gorski
In some cases, there were multiple officers nominated for a single event. Each officer was nominated for work done in 2015, and each of the nominees were honored with a plaque presented by the Moose Lodge.