The annual Evanston Police Awards Night took place on May 12 at the Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center. Sixty-seven Evanston police officers were recognized for their outstanding efforts in the performance of their duties to make Evanston a safer place to live. Seven civilians were also recognized for exceptional service to the department.
Detective Kenneth Carter was given an award for “Valor,” the highest form of recognition, given for an act of outstanding bravery or heroism. He was also celebrated as the “Officer of the Year.” Det. Carter was given both awards for his role in helping to save the life of a man who was attempting to throw himself off the roof of the parking garage at 1800 Maple Ave.
On May 24, 2015, Det. Carter, off-duty and eating locally with his family, learned that a person was on the ledge of the Sherman Avenue parking garage. He reported the incident to the Police Department and went to the garage. The man on the roof appeared to be mentally unstable, and indicated he wanted to take his life by jumping from the garage. Although police officers were able to establish a conversation with the man, he refused to step off the ledge to a safe area. As the situation appeared to be getting worse, Det. Carter crawled along a wall discreetly and quickly grabbed the man, who was then pulled to safety and taken by Fire Department personnel to a hospital for treatment.
Three civilians were given Special Recognition Awards for helping out in the same incident. Sabrina Bergman, a worker at the garage, immediately cleared the area below of vehicular and pedestrian traffic and maintained a secure scene for responding police and fire personnel. Lenny Garcia, another worker at the garage, immediately went to the roof and attempted to convince the man to come down. Rachel Itano-Carter, who first saw the man on the roof ledge and told Det. Carter, went to the scene and provided comfort to family members of the man on the roof.
Eight police officers and detectives were given a “commendation,” the second highest form of recognition, which is given for “highly creditable unusual acts in the performance of duties: Detective Marla Dunkler, Officer Jason Kleinpaste, Detective Rebecca Niziolek, Officer Christopher Seebacher, Detective Michael Jones, Detective Corey McCray, Officer Daniel Pack, and Officer Richard Tyson.
Four additional civilians were given special recognition: George Gebhard, Alderman Donald Wilson, Sabrina Bergman, and Ilana Seidman.