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updated: 3/2/2014 4:36 PM

Police in Elgin, Aurora honored for stellar work in 2013

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences isn't the only organization handing out awards to its best and brightest lately.

Police officers and civilians recently were honored in Kane County's two largest cities -- Elgin and Aurora.

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Elgin Police Detective Brian Gorcowski was named the city's 2013 Officer of the Year and Sgt. Phil Danner was named Supervisor of the Year. Officer Steve Alcorn took home Rookie of the Year honors, and Community Service Officer/Animal Control Officer James Rog garnered the Civilian of the Year Award.

For Aurora Police, Investigator Steve Stemmet, was named the department's 2013 Employee of the Year.

Stemmet was chosen for his work in a 16-month firearms and narcotics trafficking investigation that was headed by a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Task Force in partnership with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security and Aurora Police.

The investigation resulted in the seizure of 12 handguns, 1,276 grams of cocaine (about 2.8 pounds), 5.8 grams of heroin, 248 grams of marijuana and more than $11,000, police said. Overall, 20 people were indicted, including nine that face minimum sentences of 15 to 20 years in prison if convicted.

"This was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make as chief of police," said Chief Greg Thomas. "Every single one of the officers recognized is deserving of this honor."

Stemmet also was nominated for 2012 and 2010.

This year's other nominees included: Detectives Jeff Koenings, Len Casamassimo, Guillermo Trujillo; Investigators Greg Christoffel, Ed Doepel, Nick Gartner, Jeff Hahn, Dave Tellner, Josh Sullivan, Erik Swastek, Clark Johnson, Abel Villanueva and Cottrell Webster.

Rounding out the nominees were: Lt. John Fichtel; Sergeants Dan Eppard, Rick Ahlgren, Matt Thomas and Bill Rowley; and Officers Derrick Hight, Melissa Lindsay, Kyle Hoffman, Chris Grandchamp, Marcin Lemanski, Chris Coronado, Greg Spayth and Mark Carey.

Got a speeding ticket?: The Driver Safety Program at Waubonsee Community College has added St. Charles East High School as a site for instruction.

The defensive driving program required for court supervision on speeding tickets and other offenses has been already offered classes at 10 other sites, including Waubonsee campuses in Sugar Grove, Plano, downtown Aurora and the Copley campus on Aurora's East Side, as well as sites in Elgin and in DeKalb County.

hhitzeman@dailyherald.com

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