16th District/Jefferson Park officers honored for gun-related arrests
by BRIAN NADIG
In recent months the 16th (Jefferson Park) Police District Advisory Committee has honored several officers for helping to get guns off the street, as the number of gun-related arrests have nearly doubled this year when compared to 2015 in the district.
At its Dec. 15 meeting, the committee presented its Officer of the Month Award to Eugenio Espino and and Melissa Lehrmann for their Oct. 12 arrest of a suspected gang member who reportedly sprayed graffiti at the Jefferson Park CTA Terminal, 4917 N. Milwaukee Ave. A loaded revolved was recovered in the suspect’s backpack, according to police.
Also receiving the award were officers Cesar Siguenza and Michael Parker for their Oct. 28 arrests of three robbery suspects, one of whom reportedly tried to hide a handgun under his car seat.
The committee usually limits the award to one incident, but committee members said that the officers in both cases deserved recognition because those arrested were caught with guns. “They’re excellent cases, good police work. Most of this is being done while we’re asleep,” district commander William Looney told the committee.
In addition, all of the officer of the month nominees for January were nominated for making arrests in gun incidents, including the apprehension of a suspected gang member who possessed two guns and a armed robbery suspect who hijacked a car. The winners will be announced at the committee’s meeting on Thursday, Jan. 19.
There have been 88 gun-related arrests through Dec. 15 in the district compared to 47 last year during the same time period. Meanwhile the number of recovered guns, including those turned in to police and those found while executing a search warrant, is 158 compared to 124 in 2015.
In other news, the district has 220 officers, up about 30 from January. Earlier this year Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson pledged to assign more officers to the Northwest Side.
As a result additional officers have been assigned to the district’s tactical team and to the midnight shift, allowing for more beat cars with two officers instead of one, Looney said.
The probationary period for some of the new officers ends soon, and some of them could seek a transfer to another district, he said.