FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, Ill. (News Release) – They dodged bullets, searched for and arrested a serial bank robber and even pulled a man from underneath his car following a roll-over accident. These are some of the stories of the men and women honored recently at the 22nd annual Southern Illinois Law Enforcement Commission and Southern Illinois Police Chiefs Association (SILEC & SIPCA) awards banquet in Fairview Heights, Illinois. The officers honored came from several metro east departments including Belleville, Swansea, Fairvew Heights, Highland, O’Fallon and the St. Clair and Madison County Sheriff’s Departments. Three awards for Outstanding Citizen were also given. Antoinette “Toni” Salanik was honored for calling police to the Belleville area hotel she managed for a suspcious man. It turned out the man was making meth in his hotel room.
One award is named for Bob Hardy, who pioneered call-in talk radio at KMOX. This year’s Bob Hardy Media Award was given to KMOX News Anchor Carol Daniel. The award is given to only one member of the media who has provided major contributions to public safety or law enforcement. SIPCA member Roger Richards nominated Carol for the late police chief of O’Fallon, Illinois John Betten. Betten lost a five year battle with cancer in September 2013. Two months before he died, he and Richards spoke about the awards banquet. Richards says, “During that conversation, John told me it was his intention to submit Carol Daniel’s name for consideration to recieve the Bob Hardy Award.” Betten said he had the opportunity to hear Carol speak on several occasions on personal responsibility, moral behavior and the importance of strong families. Chief Betten told Richards he was always impressed by Carol’s faith and noted that she was not ashamed to speak about the importance of her faith in her life.
In recieving the award from Rita Hardy, Bob Hardy’s widow, Carol said, “I was a longtime fan of Chief Betten even through difficult interviews I had to do with him. He cared about his community and loved law enforcement but I knew that he cherished his roles as husband and father even more. That’s who he was.” She added, “To learn that he thought of giving me this honor in his final months, touches me in a way I can never forget.”
To learn more about the commission, go to http://www.silec.org.