MARENGO – The McHenry County Chiefs of Police Association has named four Marengo Police Department officers and sergeants as officers of the year.
Sgt. Adam Boyce, Sgt. Paul Fritz and officers Andrew Kjellgren and Jerry “JR” Rotkiewicz all received the honors that stem from their involvement with two different incidents in 2017.
The annual contest typically would lead to only one winner or team of winners, but this year it was particularly difficult to narrow down, said Harvard Police Chief Mark Krause, who also is the president of the association.
“We just kept going back and forth,” Krause said. “This year, we couldn’t narrow it down, so we rewarded both of the incidents and the four officers. … There is some really great police work that gets done in McHenry County that doesn’t always get recognized.”
Rotkiewicz landed the nod to his achievement after an incident in which he faced a juvenile suspect who threatened him with a loaded weapon during a Marengo suspicious activity call May 13 in the 800 block of East Prairie Street.
He was confronted by a teenager who drew a loaded Smith and Wesson .38 revolver, pointed it at the officer and said he would shoot him, police said. After several warnings to put his weapon down, Rotkiewicz shot the teen in the chest. The McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office found the shooting justified because the officer was facing an imminent, deadly threat.
The teen said he didn’t want to go back to jail during the incident and has since been charged with aggravated assault to a peace officer with a firearm and aggravated unlawful use of weapons. His name hasn’t been released because of his age.
Another incident drew attention to the department after a group of Marengo police first responders saved a man from a house fire in November.
Boyce, Fritz and Kjellgren arrived about 10:15 p.m. Nov. 6 at the scene of a house fire in the 700 block of East Grant Highway and noticed a vehicle in the driveway, which indicated someone was inside.
Kjellgren kicked the door in and saw the man lying on the stairs with smoke- and fire-related injuries. The three carried the man out of the burning building and he later was airlifted to Loyola University Medical Center with critical injuries.
“The officers who were nominated for this year’s award are law enforcement officers who are dedicated to their profession and to the communities they serve,” Krause said. “Their actions in 2017 that led to their nominations were only a few of the highlighted acts that most first responders are willing and able to do on a daily basis for the great citizens of this county.”