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updated: 4/22/2014 5:06 AM

South Elgin gives out police awards

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  • South Elgin Police Chief Christopher Merritt gives a Valor Award to police officer Roger Isham, right, as Kane County sheriff's deputy Raul Salinas holds his Monday night at the village board meeting. They responded separately to a house fire last year and together saved the life of a woman in a wheelchair who was trapped.

       South Elgin Police Chief Christopher Merritt gives a Valor Award to police officer Roger Isham, right, as Kane County sheriff's deputy Raul Salinas holds his Monday night at the village board meeting. They responded separately to a house fire last year and together saved the life of a woman in a wheelchair who was trapped.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • South Elgin police detective Brian Polkinghorn shakes hands with village board members after he was named Officer of the Year Monday night at the village board meeting.

       South Elgin police detective Brian Polkinghorn shakes hands with village board members after he was named Officer of the Year Monday night at the village board meeting.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
 

A South Elgin police officer and a Kane County sheriff's deputy were given a Valor Award Monday night in South Elgin for saving a woman's life during a house fire in January.

Detective Brian Polkinghorn was named South Elgin Police Officer of the Year for his work ethic and mentoring of his peers.

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All three received their awards during the village board meeting.

South Elgin police officer Roger Isham and Kane County sheriff's deputy Raul Salinas were given the award for saving a wheelchair-bound woman from a fire that killed her husband Jan. 8.

The officers also rescued a dog from the home, while another dog died in the fire.

Isham, 45, and Salinas, 36, separately heard the call on a radio frequency shared by South Elgin and the sheriff's department, South Elgin Police Chief Chris Merritt said.

"They heard about the woman inside, they entered the building, grabbed her and pulled her out," Merritt said. "Unfortunately, there was one fatality in the fire. We're recognizing them for their quick action and heroic effort."

Salinas was hired in Kane County as a corrections officer in 2003 and became a sheriff's deputy about seven years ago, Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez said.

"It was a very heads-up and heroic act on both the part of Deputy Salinas and the South Elgin officer," Perez said. "It's nice to see other people recognized for acts of heroism like this."

Polkinghorn, 39, is a 14-year veteran who led South Elgin's detective unit for a couple of months last year while a new detective sergeant was in training, Merritt said.

He was chosen by a committee of peers among three nominees for the Officer of the Year award, Merritt said. The department employs 32 officers, including the chief.

"Brian got it, basically, because of all the respect all the officers have (for him), and for that strong work ethic he has," he said.

"He demonstrates compassion and empathy in difficult circumstances and is known to take the time to mentor and coach his peers."

This is only the second time the Valor Award has been given out in South Elgin since it was created in 1999, Merritt said.

Salinas will also be recognized at the sheriff's annual awards banquet next year, along with all 2014 award recipients, Perez said.

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