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CPMF honors officers who responded and dispatchers who answered the call
The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation closed out the year on a high note during its December awards ceremony by hon- oring two officers for their heroism, as well as recognizing four dispatchers who did exemplary work during high-profile inci- dents.
CPMF named 24th District Officers Nicolas Sanchez and Ni- cole Pearson the December Officers of the Month in connec- tion with a September encounter with an armed suspect who opened fire on the pair earlier this year.
On Sept. 21, Sanchez and Pearson made a traffic stop on a car that ran the stop sign at Jonquil Terrace and Bosworth Avenue. Once pulled over, the driver exited the car and walked toward the officers’ squad. As Sanchez opened the squad car’s passen- ger side, the man pushed the door into Sanchez’s leg to prevent him from exiting. The suspect then fled from the officers, who followed on foot. As the man ran north on Bosworth, the offi- cers saw him hold his waistband and then reach into it. During the chase, the man shot at Sanchez with a gun that was found in the 1500 block of West Jonquil. A shell casing was also located nearby.
The man was later apprehended while hiding in the stairway of a building in the 7600 block of North Ashland. Officials said the man was charged with several felonies and is being held without bond.
CPMF also offered special commendations to dispatchers Patricia Bounds, Keith Thornton, Suzanne Cassaro and retired
dispatcher Kathy Kordelewski for their performance under the most difficult of circumstances.
Cassaro and Kordelewski were covering Zone 4 on Feb. 13, 2018, when the 1st District Tactical team reported they were chasing a man who fled from officers toward City Hall. Cassaro called out the information to responding officers, while Kor- delewski entered details into the ticket system. Commander Paul Bauer responded to the chase and was fatally shot by the offender.
CPMF Executive Director Phil Cline praised the pair, saying they “flawlessly coordinated the emergency response to this tragic murder. Their dedication to duty and professionalism to the city of Chicago and to the men and women of the Chicago Police Department [was] shown through their actions on this day.”
Similar poise and professionalism were on display on Aug. 7 when Thornton and Bounds were working Zone 6 and a call came in from an unknown unit. Thornton immediately ac- knowledged the unit as having an emergency and cleared the air to attempt to locate the unit.
An officer responded that shots were fired and two officers were down at 61st and Bell. Officer Ella French had been mor- tally wounded, and Officer Carlos Yanez was critically injured. Bounds immediately created an event and added information on the incident into the system, while Thornton held the air clear and prompted responding officers to provide additional details.
“With two officers down and unknown offenders still at large, radio traffic was both heavy and emotionally heightened,” Cline said. “Dispatcher Thornton adeptly handled the air traffic, while Dispatcher Bounds accurately documented all relevant information into the history.”
On Facebook, Kordelewski expressed her appreciation for the honor on behalf of all dispatchers, while saying she was hum- bled to be recognized.
“The two most horrific words that every dispatcher hopes never to hear in the span of their career are ‘officer down.’ When- ever an officer is killed in the line of duty, it cuts all dispatchers deeply. We hurt for those officers, we hurt for their families and we hurt for their fellow officers,” she wrote. “Commander Bau- er died a hero on my watch. He thwarted the ill intentions of a very violent criminal. And we will never know how many lives he possibly saved that day by sacrificing his own. I will forever keep his wife and daughter in my prayers. I pray that they will have the strength, faith and support they need to carry on with- out him.”

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