The professional lives of Christopher Kennedy and Randy Fries are very similar. Both have worked in public safety for the city of Elgin for just under a decade. Both evaluated current procedures and developed methods that made a positive impact on the lives of Elgin residents.
Now the two have something else in common: On April 28, Kennedy and Fries were chosen to receive the American Legion Post 57’s annual Firefighter and Police Officer of the Year recognitions.
American Legion Post 57 presents these annual awards to a firefighter and police officer who exceeds their normal duties and shows a pattern of community service and professional achievement.
Firefighter of the Year
Christopher Kennedy, has been with the Elgin Fire Department for nine years. Over the past several years, he has been involved with the training division, focusing his attention on emergency medical services. In this capacity, Kennedy performed quality assurance checks on patient care reports in an effort to determine where additional training was most needed.
After reviewing the records of cardiac arrest victims, Kennedy worked to train department personnel on a different style of managing these types of patients. As a direct result, the department increased the number of patients who regained a pulse and a heart rhythm. Not only did the department’s success increase, but the numbers also surpassed the national average.
Kennedy’s Firefighter of the year recognition was due in part to “the immediate positive impact his contribution has made not only to the department but to the citizens of Elgin,” said Assistant Fire Chief David Schmidt.
Police Officer of the Year
Randy Fries is a 10-year veteran of the force. He is a long-time member of the Unit for Special Assignments and holds the rank of senior patrolman. His nomination was based on participation in several high profile cases, individual work ethic and the mentoring and leadership of new USA officers.
Fries used technical skills along with unconventional policing methods to locate and arrest suspects. In many cases he would authorize search warrants for computer records, court authorized GPS trackers and social media accounts in order to determine the location of the offenders.
In 2014, Fries took on the management of registration and compliance checks for paroled violent offenders and murderers within the city. He believes that every case had merit and deserved assistance.
“Fries leads by example through his strong work ethic and is a driving force in the productivity of the unit,” said Sgt. Jim Lalley. “His non-stop work style leads and inspires those who work with him.”
SOURCE: city of Elgin press release