More than 100 people came out to Mesón Sabika Thursday night for the Citizens Appreciate Public Safety or CAPS Awards.
Members of law enforcement, their families, and public officials honored over 30 members of the Naperville Police Department.
Law enforcement officers were nominated by community members, and recognized for their life-saving efforts and contributions to the Naperville community.
Chief of Police Jason Arres began the ceremony emphasizing the importance of mental health for Naperville’s police officers.
“There is something you, as residents and community members, can do that will positively impact the mental health of our officers,” said Arres. “Support them, tell them you appreciate them, thank them for their service, acknowledge their willingness to risk their lives to protect you, your families, and this community as a whole knowing they might not make it home to there’s at the end of the shift.”
Awards for Frank Tonkovich
Sergeant Frank Tonkovich received the Medal of Valor for his heroic act in June of 2022.
Tonkovich also was awarded the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police Medal of Honor, the Silver Star for Bravery from the American Police Hall of Fame, and a CAPS award.
While making a routine traffic stop, another vehicle pulled up next to Tonkovich. A man emerged from the car and came at him with a hatchet. Tonkovich fatally shot the man in self-defense. Arres said these quick actions “without a doubt” saved his life.
After that moment, the 23-year veteran in the force was thankful for the help of his colleagues.
“Everyone in that police department jumped in any car that was available and drove to my location just to help out,” said Tonkovich. “That shows the true meaning of how police officers will help in any situation. Officers run toward gunfire without hesitation when most people run away from it.”
George Pradel Award winner
The ceremony concluded with the announcement of the George Pradel Award recipient – Officer Kevin Fasana.
Fasana has served in the NPD as a patrol officer, training officer, and member of the department’s crisis intervention team. Arres noted the NPD now has 87% of its Naperville officers and supervisors certified in crisis intervention training.
Fasana said he takes “great pride” in answering the calls for help in his community.
“It’s our obligation and privilege to enter into these people’s lives that need us, and hopefully leave them in a better spot and continue that relationship we built with them,” said Fasana. “I can’t stress enough how glad I am to be working in a department that prioritizes that type of policing.”
There will be a CAPS Awards ceremony for Naperville firefighters and paramedics in the fall.
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