Public safety employees honored for dedication, good work

Officer James Scheel has been named as the University of Illinois Police Department’s officer of the year for 2018, and a number of his colleagues also received recognition for their good work during the past year.

The Ralph F. Hamlin Officer of the Year award is named for the officer who spent 16 of his 26 years in law enforcement at the University of Illinois Police Department and displayed unmatched professionalism, good-natured demeanor and tenacious investigative skills. It is awarded to UIPD officers who provides consistently positive performance of their duties and for his or her conscientious efforts at self-improvement.

Scheel has been an integral part of the Champaign County Street Crimes Task Force during the last year and a half and his work has been essential in removing large amounts of narcotics and dozens of illegal firearms from the streets of Champaign County, including areas near campus. The task force made many arrests of dangerous offenders in 2017.

“Not only has he honed his capabilities, but he has also volunteered countless hours to aid others in investigations and respond to other jurisdictions when incidents require additional assistance without hesitation,” said U. of I. Interim Police Chief Matt Myrick.

Scheel also works as an educator in the women’s self-defense course offered by the University Police Department.

“The amount of work and effort cannot be expressed solely by numbers, and the hours he has given to the profession in the past year to protect the community is truly astonishing,” Myrick said.

Among other award winners during a ceremony on March 31 were Brett Doney (Security Officer of the Year), Daniel Kunde (Student Patrol Officer of the Year), and Alisha Funkhouser-Walker (Carol Bailey Civilian Employee of the Year).

Each of those awards is given to those who not only excel in their assigned responsibilities, but who also go out of their way to enhance the safety of the campus community, build positive relationships and help their coworkers.

All the awardees were nominated by their coworkers who believed they were deserving of the honors.

Among the other awardees for 2018:

  • Officer Taylor Franzen (Life-saving award)
  • Officer Doug Beckman (Commendation)
  • Officer Alex Tran (Commendation)
  • Officer A.J. Martin (Commendation)
  • Officer Michelle Schroeder (Commendation)
  • Officer Ben Wood (Commendation)
  • Telecommunicator Kristy Mecum (Commendation)
  • Security Officer Joseph Dreher (Commendation)
  • Security Officer Richard Endsley (Commendation)
  • Officer Grant Briggs (Merit Award)
  • Student Patrol Officer Zach Armstrong (Student Patrol Commendation)
  • Student Patrol Officer Jacob Hesslau (Student Patrol Commendation)
  • Student Patrol Officer Eliot Mook (Student Patrol Commendation)
  • Robert Woodward (Campus Emergency Management Recognition Award)
  • Associate Dean of Students Rhonda Kirts (Cathy Acevedo Award)
  • Clinical Counselor Tom Miebach (Cecil Coleman Award)
  • Director of Public Safety Recognition Award (21 honorees)