|Victim’s Advocate Carole Meade (right) honors London resident Sarah Kaufman as the London Police Department’s Citizen of the Year.||London Police Chief (right) congratulates Pat Kinman, executive administrative assistant, as the department’s Employee of the Year.|
The bravery of the officers of the London Police Department, along with that of a local resident, was honored with a year-end appreciation dinner hosted by Chief Peter Tobin at the Brennan Loft on Dec. 20.
Special commendations were presented to officers Gregory Perkins and Donovan Cooper and sergeants Linda Sullivan and David Wiseman. Officer Joseph Cox and Sgt. David Litchfield were presented with medals of merit. Executive Administrative Assistant Pat Kinman was honored as Employee of the Year and Christopher Francis was selected as Officer of the Year.
“As I look around this room, I am exceptionally proud of the men and women who do everything in their power to take care of the citizens of London,” said Tobin. “Some will work the graveyard or the evening shift. Some here will work on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Christmas night while the rest of us will be with our families. They will run towards danger, not away, as they will not flinch. They will not hesitate to rescue someone from harm.”
Sarah Kaufman, a London resident who survived a brutal attack eight years ago, was honored with the department’s Citizen of the Year Award.
“On many occasions our officers have noticed, as they have driven through the government-assisted housing, a very special lady surrounded by the young children of the neighborhood,” Tobin said. “Her kindness is known throughout the neighborhood.
“It is this same woman who, some eight years ago, suffered a brutal attack at the hands of a violent serial criminal. We honor her tonight for her kindness and courage.”
County Victim’s Advocate Carol Meade lauded Kaufman for her bravery and said she absolutely deserves the citizen’s award for coming forward with her story. According to Litchfield, although Kaufman was attacked eight years ago, police were only recently able to positively link the criminal who attacked the senior citizen through DNA testing.
Litchfield said his department was notified of a DNA match, but that the Bureau of Criminal Investigations needed a new sample. The suspect was difficult to locate. The Attorney General’s office introduced a new data base, and London officers found out Kaufman’s attacker applied for a Florida identification.
“Champaign County had warrants out for him and the sheriff of Champaign County agreed to extradite him for parole violations,” Litchfield said. “We got a search warrant for new DNA, and the BCI came back with a positive match. He was sentenced Nov. 16 to 20 years in prison. That case haunted me.”
Meade said the highlight of her career was the day she called Kaufman and told her the man who attacked her eight years before was finally caught.
“I’m just glad I’m a survivor,” said Kaufman as she clutched her award following the presentation, “but I’m sad for ones that aren’t.”
In addition to awards presented to officers, civic awards were presented to organizations and members of the business community. Additionally, city council representatives were recognized for their service to the community and dedication to the police department.
“It takes a lot of courage to stand up publicly for what you believe in,” said Tobin. “It is difficult to say ‘no’ when there is not enough funding to say ‘yes.’ It can be a thankless job. Public scrutiny and public criticism can be unnerving and disheartening. There are very few constituents who will thank you for serving.”
The Civic Award winners were:
• David Harper, Senior vice president of protection services, National City Bank
• Tracey Mathewson, safety director, and Jeff Hill, flatbed brokerage manager, of Building Systems Transportation
• Tom Coughlin, president, Coughlin Automotive Group
• William Coughlin III, director of human resources, Brian Baldwin, plant manager director, and Teresa Harsh, facility services, all of Stanley Electric U.S.
• Nathan Caplan, loss prevention manager, Staples
• Phillip Robinett, post commander, American Legion Post 105
• Frances Lucas, manager, Wal-Mart
Also, Dispatcher Jeannie Porter re-ceived the London Police award for doing the department scrapbooks.