Naperville police officers honored at 2024 CAPS Awards

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On Thursday night, Naperville Citizens Appreciate Public Safety (CAPS) hosted its annual police department awards at Meson Sabika. Over 40 police personnel were awarded for going beyond their call of duty.

I’m always grateful for this annual opportunity to shine a spotlight on the great work our men and women do for this community each and every day,” said Naperville Police Chief, Jason Arres.

Naperville Police Department Overview

Police Chief Arres, opened the ceremony by providing the 2023 police department overview, emphasizing its culture of teamwork.

“The Naperville Police Department is not about any one person, but a collection of people with a common goal to keep this community safe,” said Arres. “It takes a team to answer 63,000 emergency phone calls and handle almost 80,000 police-related events in a 12 month period.”

Police Department and CAPS awards

Following the department overview, Chief Arres presented the Naperville Police Department awards. This included telecommunicators, detectives, crime prevention specialists, the NPD Honor Guard, and the Strategic Response Unit.

The CAPS awards were given to officers by the CAPS board members. 

The Board of Fire and Police Commissioners’ Award was handed out by its chairman, Ron Davidson, and was presented to Officer Martin Franken for his compassion towards the community, especially those in need.

“On several occasions, Officer Franken has come across people in need of shelter, food, or other assistance. Time and again he has committed to pulling together the community resources to assist these individuals,” said Davidson.

Davidson said Officer Franken once helped a homeless mother and her two-year-old child find shelter, as well as financial assistance, groceries, and other necessities. Four months later, the woman was back on her own two feet. 

“Simply put, Officer Franken is a good man with a servant’s heart who represents the best qualities of the Naperville Police Department,” said Davidson.

George Pradel Award

The ceremony concluded with the top honor, the George Pradel Award. This year, Sergeant Richard Arsenault, Sergeant David Pastrick, and Officer Joshua Christenson were awarded for saving a 14-year-old girl who officials say might have been trafficked.

Last year, the girl ran away from home and was headed to Indiana on a bus with a man. The officers later identified the man, who had an extensive criminal history. They contacted local, state, and federal officials to intercept the bus and were able to remove the girl from the situation and detain the man.

“It sounds contrary to talk with certainty about something that might have happened. But in this particular case, given the specific set of circumstances, I think we can say with a fair amount of certainty that the actions of these officers saved a young girl from a horrible tragedy,” said CAPS Chairman, Wes Wernette.

Officer Christenson said removing the girl from the situation was a team effort.

“Although I’m up here, there [are] many other people in our department, out of our department, across state lines that had a hand, that without that one link in the chain happening, this ends right where it is and it just becomes another missing person report,” said Christenson.

CAPS will host an awards ceremony for the Naperville Fire Department later this fall. Full coverage of the ceremony will be posted later on the NCTV17 website.

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