Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and we name them heroes for any number of courageous acts.
Kane County’s 2018 Officer of the Year might not possess the size and strength of Superman or cosmic powers of Captain Marvel, but St. Charles Police Officer Jennifer Larsen is a superhero in anyone’s book, recognized for saving the life of a baby in 2018 when responding to a 9-1-1 call for help.
Larsen was presented with the Kane County Louis Spuhler Award for outstanding police work in 2018. She accepted the award on Feb. 27 at Annual Kane County Officer of the Year banquet hosted by Batavia Moose Lodge 682 and the Kane County Chiefs of Police Association at Pheasant Run Resort.
She was chosen from a long list of worthy nominees from departments throughout Kane County and nominated by St. Charles Police Chief James Keegan.
Here’s what she did to earn the award:
On May 7, 2018, Larsen was dispatched to assist an ambulance with a possible cardiac arrest patient. When she arrived, she met the father, who was carrying an infant victim. The father said he discovered the baby had fallen off the bed.
The adult watching the child was unaware the fall had occurred. A combination of circumstances led to the child not being discovered for almost 20 minutes.
Due to the angle that the child’s head came to rest between the bed and wall, breathing became restricted. By the time the father discovered the child, she was blue and not breathing.
Larsen took control of the situation and immediately assessed the child’s condition. She applied a sternum rub without any response from the child.
She was unable to locate a pulse and initiated chest compressions. The infant physically reacted and her pulse was restored.
The St. Charles Fire Department arrived, and the paramedics took over patient care.
The attending doctor at Delnor Hospital said Larsen saved the child’s life.
“Officer Larsen’s fast thinking and decisive actions during this stressful and disturbing event is a testament to her character, skills and training,” Keegan said. “She displayed a prime example of the level of service, commitment and professionalism the St. Charles Police Department strives to give each and every citizen it serves. We are all very proud to have Officer Larsen on our team.”
Additionally, Larsen has served as the liaison to the Special Olympics. She has organized numerous fundraising events on behalf of Special Olympics and participates in several more events such as the Torch Run and the Polar Plunge.
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. Lt. Spuhler died before he could see his idea put into action, but the award was named in his honor.
This was the 42nd annual event.
David Kintz, chair of the Kane County Chiefs of Police Association Award Committee, said Larsen’s heroics were emblematic of the work that’s done every day by officers in Kane County.
“This year, we had 16 nominees for acts of bravery, lifesaving, investigative skills, and community engagement,” he said. “Each of them could have won tonight. It has to be a difficult process for the Moose Selection Committee to decide on a winner.
Kane County Chiefs of Police Association President Pat Rollins of the Sugar Grove Police Department said that
“All nominees displayed outstanding achievement in law enforcement that exemplifies professional dedication in keeping our citizens safe, which occurs in every community on a daily basis throughout our County,” he said.
The keynote speaker was Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain, who talked about how the recent shooting in Aurora as an example of how all the departments come together in times of need.
All nominees were recognized for work done in 2018.
Other nominees include:
- Officer Richard Bosh of the Bartlett Police Department
- Detective Chris Bognetti of the Carpentersville Police Department
- Officer Jim Creighton of the South Elgin Police Department
- Officer Robert Henke of the Elgin Police Department
- Deputy James Thrun of the Kane County Sheriff’s Office
- Investigator Matthew Huber of the Aurora Police Department
- Investigator Colin Griffin of the Aurora Police Department
- Officer Ryszard “Rick” Drozdowski of the Aurora Police Department
- Officer Bradley VonHoff of the Aurora Police Department
- Sgt. Robert Kenders of the Geneva Police Department
- Trooper Manize McDonald of the Illinois State Police District 2
- Trooper John Murphy of the Illinois State Police District 2
- Trooper Aldo Schumann of the Illinois State Police District 2
- Trooper Ryan Nalezny of the Illinois State Police District 15
SOURCE: Kane County Chiefs of Police Association, city of St. Charles news releases