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updated: 2/24/2014 6:08 PM

Elgin police gives honors for service

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  • Officer Steve Alcorn is congratulated by his wife, Larissa, after being named the Elgin Police Department's Rookie of the Year during the annual awards ceremony Monday.

       Officer Steve Alcorn is congratulated by his wife, Larissa, after being named the Elgin Police Department's Rookie of the Year during the annual awards ceremony Monday.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Sgt. Phil Danner, left, shakes hands with Elgin Police Chief Jeff Swoboda after being named Manager of the Year during the Elgin Police Department's annual awards ceremony Monday.

       Sgt. Phil Danner, left, shakes hands with Elgin Police Chief Jeff Swoboda after being named Manager of the Year during the Elgin Police Department's annual awards ceremony Monday.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

 
 

Had he not been a member of the Elgin Police honor guard, Officer Steve Alcorn wouldn't have figured out ahead of time he was the department's Rookie of the Year.

Alcorn said he spotted his wife, Larissa, and other relatives walk into the Elgin Police Department as he was practicing with the guard just before the yearly awards ceremony Monday afternoon.

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"I pretty much knew when I saw her," he said.

Alcorn was honored along with three other department employees for their service to the department and the community. Another 80 or so officers and employees were recognized for various achievements.

Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon gave the opening remarks, touting Elgin's decreasing crime rate and the police department's efforts to engage residents through various community initiatives.

Elgin State Bank branch manager Juan Martinez was presented the distinguished community service award for stopping a scam in October targeting a senior and involving wire transfers to Nigeria.

Alcorn joined the department in July 2011 and has already become a certified evidence technician and joined the tactical response team, Elgin Police Chief Swoboda said.

"(Alcorn) truly understands that service is job No. 1 at Elgin Police," he said.

Detective Brian Gorcowski was named Elgin's Police Officer of the Year for his role in solving the murder of Lisa Koziol-Ellis in March 2013. Koziol-Ellis' neighbor, Paul A. Johnson, was charged with the crime and is awaiting trial.

Gorcowski has been the lead investigator on more than 90 cases.

He also wears several other hats, including bike patrol mechanic, arson investigator, crisis negotiator, and voice stress analyzer, Swoboda said.

"He's always the first to volunteer on any assignment -- big or small -- that needs to be done," Swoboda said.

Animal Control Officer James Rog was chosen as the department's Civilian of the Year.

Last year, Rog was instrumental in an animal cruelty and child neglect case involving nine dogs and several children. The home was later deemed unfit for human occupancy.

Rog always exhibits professionalism and care for animals and their owners, Swoboda said. "He speaks for those without a voice," he said.

Rog, too, wears several hats, including court liaison officer and adviser for the department's Explorer youth program.

The Manager of the Year award -- the only award picked by Swoboda instead of by committee -- went to 28-year-veteran Sgt. Phil Danner, who's assigned to the patrol division's day shift.

Danner was also recognized for getting 90 letters of appreciation, given to employees for exceptional performance in specific situations.

Danner knows that working hard is not enough, Swoboda said, and instead realizes that "The real question is, 'How are you helping others reach their full potential?' "

All four yearly award recipients said their co-workers were instrumental in their success.

"You don't do anything on your own here," Danner said.

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