Police Chief Richard Eddington, former Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, and Alex Adolphoson. RoundTable photos

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Five citizens were given the Police Chief’s Special Awards at the Evanston Police Department 2017 Awards Ceremony for their actions in saving lives and stepping up to protect a woman in a dangerous situation. Nine additional citizens were given awards for their service in alerting police to crimes in process and for serving on the Police Advisory Committee.

On Sept. 24, 2016, while at the Church Street boat ramp, Alex Adolphson saw a woman floating face down in the lake. He jumped in the lake, swam out approximately 20 feet, pulled her back to shore, and performed CPR on her until the Evanston Fire Department arrived on scene.

Police say the woman would almost certainly have died if it were not for Mr. Adolphson’s bravery and willingness to help someone in need.

 On June 23 and 24, 2016, a 50-year old woman was battered, choked, sexually assaulted and held against her will for many hours by her live-in boy friend, said police at the awards ceremony. The woman escaped out the back door of her home and ran into the street calling for help. 

Mark Mattozzi, a retired Chicago Police Officer, came to her aid, placing himself physically between the victim and the offender. Kara Anderson, a neighbor of the victim, came upon the scene, recognized the imminent danger, and insisted that the woman get into her vehicle. Ms. Anderson was able to drive away from the scene, and get the woman to safety.

Police say if Mr. Mattozzi and Ms. Anderson had not intervened and put themselves in harms way, the victim may not have escaped and may have suffered additional violence.

 On Feb. 27, 2016, Jerry Useem and his family were at Greenwood Beach when he saw a person on the beach having a hard time standing. He saw the person stumble backwards into the water and becoming completely immersed. Mr. Useem quickly entered the chilly waters of Lake Michigan fully clothed to help the person.

Matthew Snyder saw Mr. Useem struggling to pull the person out of the water, and he also entered the water and assisted in pulling the person safely onto the shore. The person who fell into the water was transported to the hospital for treatment for exposure.

Police say if Mr. Useem and Mr. Snyder had not acted quickly to pull the person from the water, the person, who was extremely intoxicated, may not have survived. 

Additional citizens were provided awards. Bruce Gomez made a 911 call and provided detailed information while three persons were committing an armed robbery. His quick action led to their arrest. Selvin Gomez and Alimir Perocevic followed a person they saw steel a bicycle, which led to the person’s arrest. Robert Morrison and Amanda Seibert notified police of child pornography on a person’s computer, which led to an investigation and conviction of the person. 

 Joan Hickman, Len Lirtzman, Rene Lock and Lawrence McCarthy were each given the Chief’s Special Award for their service on the Evanston Police Advisory Committee for many years.