Morris Patrolman Dustin Seale was named Officer of the Year at Monday's council meeting.
An officer with Morris police since Dec. 1, 2008, he is a valued member of the department, Chief Brent Dite said.
"(Seale) comes to work every night wanting to make a difference in the Morris community," Dite said.
Seale previously worked as an officer with the Cook County Forest Preserve District's law enforcement department. He was trained through the Basic Police Recruit Training at the Cook County Sheriff's Police Training Academy. Before becoming an officer, he served in the military with the United States Marine Corps.
He is currently on the night shift as a patrol officer, Dite said, and is a certified police bicycle officer and juvenile officer. In addition, he is trained in large event crowd control and security, conservation law, advanced tactical police rifle, high risk warrant execution and advanced driving under the influence enforcement.
Seale is also a member of the Grundy County Law Enforcement Manager's Association's Color Guard.
Seale called the award an honor on Tuesday. He was nominated the year before, but was not chosen because he was still a new hire, he said.
"It's like the Grammy's, it's an honor to be nominated," Seale said with a laugh.
The officer said the most exciting part was being told by Dite that all his fellow officers had good things to say about him while discussing his nomination.
"I was real happy. The chief said he was very proud of me because he said no one had a negative thing to say, and it was good to see how positive everyone was when talking about me," Seale said. "It felt good to know I'm doing my job right."
The process for choosing Officer of the Year starts with a staff meeting of the supervisory staff and the staff pastor, Dite said. Nominations are made and those who make a nomination convince the others why their candidate is the best choice. A vote is then taken. How the officer stands out and their ability to be a team player are among the qualities considered.
Dite shared with the council that Seale has received numerous thank you letters from members of the community and a neighboring police department for his assistance with an armed and barricaded subject.
"We are very fortunate to have him as a member of the police department," Dite said after the meeting. "He comes to work every night with a purpose to do good for the community."
The Officer of the Year Award began in 1992, Dite believes. Once the recipient is selected, he submits their information to the American Police Hall of Fame in Florida. So Seale was also presented with an Honor Award from the American Police Hall of Fame through their National Award Program.
The city council voted to decline participating in bicycle accommodations along Illinois 47, north of Interstate 80.
The Illinois Department of Transportation is required to ask municipalities about this, Mayor Richard Kopczick said. The resolution said state law requires bicycle and pedestrian accommodations be established within one mile of an urban area in conjunction with construction of any transportation facility.
The state is preparing for future widening of the existing two-lane highway to four through driving lanes with auxiliary turn lanes.
The Street and Alley Committee recommended declining it because it did not believe there would be enough bicycle use that far north. The mayor said with the future 47 work, the city will request the sidewalk be extended on the state's right of way to Saratoga School. In addition, with the Illinois 47 construction, the shoulders will be 12 foot and paved, so bikers who do want to travel past Saratoga School can use those. The committee didn't feel there was a large need for sidewalks for pedestrians or bikes to go any further than Saratoga School.
Grundy County also voted against this, Alderman Bill Martin said.
If the city had voted in favor of this, it would be responsible for 20 percent of the construction cost and then 100 percent of the maintenance for life after it was built.