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posted: 1/17/2013 11:32 AM

Two North Aurora officers to be honored with top award

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  • John Kerlin

    John Kerlin

  • Mark Shillair

    Mark Shillair


Submitted by North Aurora Police Department

The North Aurora Police Department has announced that two officers will be honored for their work in 2012.

The North Aurora Lions Club will announce the 2012 Police Officer of the Year at its annual awards banquet Tuesday, Jan. 22, at the Gaslite Manor on Church Road in Aurora.

This award has been presented annually since 2005. Police supervisors provide the nominations and the Lions Club chooses the winner.

Officers John (Jake) Kerlin and Mark Shillair are this year's nominees.

• Since the inception of the "Police And Citizens Together" program, Kerlin has taken the lead, embracing the program from the beginning. He has increased the number of citizens he interacts with through day to day greetings and several meetings.

Kerlin often provides snacks, drinks, and a wealth of information at his PACT meetings. This has helped to garner community respect and support for the North Aurora Police Department.

Officer Kerlin began a new practice of showing honor and respect to officers killed in the line of duty during the previous year by supplying and decorating a "memorial tree" each holiday season.

The tree honors each fallen officer with a blue ribbon, photo, and information on how he/she was killed. It not only honors the fallen, but reminds officers to guard against complacency.

Officer Kerlin is a leader on the Honor Guard team, which just completed its first year. One of his main responsibilities is the care and handling of the team's M1 rifles. As a former soldier in the United States Army, he has been instrumental with planning, coordinating, and building the team.

Officer Kerlin has been a member of the North Aurora Police Department for 12 years and is currently assigned to the evening shift patrol.

• On the evening of Saturday, Aug. 4, Officer Mark Shillair was dispatched to a domestic disturbance at Randall Road and Ice Cream Drive. The caller reported that her 33-year-old son exited her vehicle and would not get back in.

Officer Shillair was the first to arrive on the scene, where he found the subject walking on the Randall Road bridge over I-88. Officer Shillair stopped his vehicle next to the subject and asked him what was going on. The subject told Officer Shillair to "get your camera ready because I'm going to jump off the bridge."

Then the man climbed on top of the bridge sidewall facing the tollway below. Shillair was able to exit his squad car and pull the man, who was taller and nearly double his weight, off the wall and onto the ground before he could jump.

Neither the man nor Shillair were injured in the incident. The man was later taken to the hospital for a psychological evaluation. Chief of Police David Summer said, "Officer Mark Shillair's actions are commendable. As a police officer, you never know when a crisis will occur. In order to prevent a person from causing harm to himself, he put his life in jeopardy. I'm extremely proud of Officer Shillair and find him worthy of this recognition."

Officer Shillair was awarded the Lifesaving Medal for his actions in this incident. He has been a member of the North Aurora Police Department for seven years and is currently assigned to the evening shift patrol.

Past winners of the award were: Officer Dan Cyko in 2005; Officer Chris Joswick in 2006; Officer Mike Quinn in 2007; Officer Kristen Lohrstorfer in 2008; Sergeant Joseph DeLeo in 2009; Officer Ryan Hooper in 2010; and Officer Ryan McKiness in 2011.