NW Side aldermen, commander honored
by BRIAN NADIG
Chicago Police Department Area Central Detective Division commander Edward Wodnicki has received the Polish American Police Association of Chicago and Illinois’s recent law enforcement "Person of the Year" award, about 30 years after his father received the same honor.
"Dad, thank you for everything," Wodnicki said at the Friday, May 3, ceremony at the White Eagle Events and Convention Center, 6839 N. Milwaukee Ave., Niles.
He recalled how in 1989 he attended his first PAPA banquet and saw his father Edward honored with the same award. His dad was the Chicago police chief of detectives.
Wodnicki has served more than 35 years in law enforcement and most recently established partnerships with federal agencies for enhanced prosecution of violent gun offenders in Chicago. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety School of Police Staff and Command.
Also at the ceremony, the 2019 civilian "Persons of the Year" awards were presented to Alderman Nicholas Sposato (38th) and Alderman Anthony Napolitano (41st).
PAPA president Marty Obrecki said that the aldermen were being honored for representing the interests of first responders at City Hall and for their sponsorship of the annual "Support Your Police" rally in front of the 16th (Jefferson Park) District police station, 5151 N. Milwaukee Ave.
"We support you every step of the way," said Sposato, who in 2011 became the first Chicago firefighter elected to the City Council. He said that one of his proudest accomplishments as alderman has been working to increase the number of sworn personnel in the 16th District, adding that police officials have received a number of calls from him on this topic.
Napolitano has joined the police force in the year 2000, joining his father Tony and several other relatives.
"The greatest day of my life was putting on that uniform," Napolitano said. "It’s a brother and sister bond, and I take it to heart." In more recent years he served as a firefighter before being elected alderman in 2015.
The association also presented its 2019 "Law Enforcement Award of Merit" to Chicago police officers Timothy Kroski and Anthony Nowakowski.