Mount Prospect honored its finest this week in the police department's version of the Oscars, the Officer of the Year Awards.
The awards are given for exemplary conduct and outstanding performance. The goal is to motivate officers to excel. Deputy Chief Tim Janowick made the presentations, as family members gathered at village hall snapped pictures.
Officer of the Year was Michael Angarola, a midnight shift officer who, Janowick said, is noted for being proactive.
Janowick said he is responsible for 109 self-initiated arrests, which means "he is out there digging."
The arrests included 44 for driving under the influence. On one arrest, after finding 5.4 grams of marijuana, Angarola, who has been with the department four years, conducted a thorough search of a stopped vehicle, finding 129 additional grams.
As Janowick put it, "That's a lot of dope."
On another arrest for DUI, it was Angarola's thorough search that uncovered a .22-caliber pistol hidden in the vehicle.
In addition, he was able to stop a burglary from occurring on an August night when he spotted two people wearing dark winter clothing. The two admitted they were en route to perform a burglary, Janowick said.
The village also honored the three runners-up: officers Michael Brady, Scott Filipek and Lee Schaps.
Janowick said Brady's accomplishments included helping Prospect Heights police apprehend two shooting suspects. An evidence technician on the afternoon patrol shift, he's been on the department 11 years.
Filipek, a six-year veteran of the department currently assigned as the school resource officer at Prospect High School, "has a reputation (at the high school) that rivals anyone who has ever worked there in that position."
He said Filipek initiated 78 investigations that led to 39 arrests, ranging from students who have stolen iPods and iPads to those who have come to school high or intoxicated.
But he also noted Filipek's ability to reach out to teens by starting a morning guitar club for students.
"He takes the idea of community policing to a new level," Janowick said.
Schaps, Janowick said, brings the extra advantage to the department in that he speaks Spanish and he has distinguished himself as a member of the Major Case Assistance Team.
His work on a case in which a 6-month-old child was found to have experienced brain trauma led to the indictment of the biological father, who admitted striking the child, Janowick said.
On another case, Schaps, a 19-year veteran of the department, helped find the people who committed nearly 60 burglaries in 20 communities.