Kane County authorities fighting child abuse on all fronts

Kane County authorities are always working to combat child abuse.

As part of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, authorities are providing mandated abuse reporters with more information on how to fulfill their duties, and also urging residents to stay vigilant and call the Department of Children and Family Service's hotline at (800) 25-ABUSE if they are aware of abuse.

Officials at the Kane County Child Advocacy Center, which investigates crimes against children on behalf of the state's attorney's office, also are trying to meet the needs of families affected by abuse.

The center recently landed a $20,000 grant from the St. Charles-based Dunham Fund to purchase a 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan. They'll use the minivan to drive abuse victims to hospital appointments, special interviews and court proceedings.

Deb Bree, the center's executive director, said transportation, or lack thereof, was cited as a concern for families in abuse cases.

The Friends of the Kane County Child Advocacy Center also works to help victims and families that are displaced when abuse charges are filed.

The group collects donations ranging from towels and toiletries to clothes and car seats. For more information, visit


Melissa Johnson, a 24-year emergency telecommunications operator with the Aurora Police Department, will be honored as the city's Telecommunications Operator of the Year at a ceremony Tuesday.

Johnson was chosen by her co-workers for the award, which coincides with National Telecommunicator Week.

"Melissa has been serving the community with remarkable skill and professionalism for almost 25 years," said Police Chief Greg Thomas, who stressed the job is more than just answering emergency calls. "Just as importantly, she has been a critical link between our officers and firefighters, and the citizens who require emergency assistance. She comes to work every day caring for her co-workers and the entire community."

The city employs 30 operators at its 911 center, which handles calls for Aurora and North Aurora. In 2014, operators answered more than 103,000 emergency calls and nearly 142,000 nonemergency calls.

More DUI patrols planned:

Three people were arrested in the most recent "No Refusal" DUI patrol in Kane County on St. Patrick's Day, said State's Attorney Joe McMahon.

"It's still three too many," said McMahon, who maintains the goal of the patrol is to get people to change their behavior and seek alternative transportation if they are going to be out drinking.

McMahon said additional No Refusal events will he held this year. During the events, prosecutors work with an on-call judge to get a search warrant if a suspected drunken driver refuses a chemical test.

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