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updated: 7/30/2013 12:00 PM

Wheaton police name officer, civilian of the year

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A Wheaton detective celebrated for her character and competence has been awarded her department's highest honor.

Detective Patricia Potter, who has worked in Wheaton since 2001, received the police department's Officer of the Year award at a ceremony earlier this month.

Chief Mark Field said the award recognizes Potter's investigative work on a variety of violent crimes, most notably the 2006 arrest and 120-year conviction of Oak Forest resident James P. Murphy for the 2005 sexual assault of a Wheaton resident and her 5-month-old child.

"Individually and collectively you are awarded this unit citation for your attention to duty, perseverance, professional expertise, tenacity, attention to detail and integrity exhibited in the successful clearance of this major crime," Field wrote in a 2008 citation for Potter.

On Monday, Field said Potter "is truly a person of high character and of high competence."

Potter's supervisor, Investigative Division Cmdr. James Volpe, wrote one of the several nomination letters that led to her award.

"Detective Potter has handled every assigned case with the tenacity of a bulldog, always keeping the innocent victim's perspective in mind. She approaches each new assignment with a can-do attitude and, as her productivity indicates, she always does," Volpe wrote. "Detective Potter's work history speaks for itself. There is rarely a case she investigates that goes unsolved."

Field said Potter was unavailable Monday as she worked a new case.

Field also awarded police services representative Doreen Farrell with the Civilian of the Year award. An 18-year employee, she has served as both a police services representative and community service officer.

"Ms. Farrell is an excellent employee -- one who other employees look forward to working with because she is pleasant and easy to get along with and does everything possible to make each working day a productive and pleasant experience for everyone," Field wrote in an email Monday. "Doreen is a sterling ambassador for the police department, both on- and off-duty. Oftentimes, her work in the records section is the one and only contact that residents and the public may have with the police department."

Officers Ryan Conway and Clifford Dillon each received a Lifesaving Award for the resuscitation of men in two separate instances earlier this year.

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