Six River Forest and Forest Park police officers received individual departmental commendations – the department’s highest award - for their efforts that led to the arrest of three men in connection with the shooting death of Chicago resident Chervon Alexander.
Recognized during a recent River Forest Village Board meeting and receiving the honors were:
- River Forest Officer Tony Pluto. He was first on the scene, aided the victim and put out the descriptive information that led to the traffic stop in Forest Park. He also gathered witnesses at the scene within seconds of the call. That was why they such a strong case, Deputy Chief Craig Rutz said Thursday.
- Forest Park Police Officer Dan Miller and Sergeant Ken Gross made the the traffic stop south on Harlem Avenue near Madison Street and spotted a .380 caliber handgun in the car, the suspected murder weapon in the case. The stop came within four minutes of the shooting.
- River Forest Det. Sgt. Marty Grill headed the investigation and brought in resources.
- River Forest Det. Seth DeYoung conducted most of the interviews and gathered confessions.
- River Forest Officer Justin Labriola coordinated and catalogued all of the evidence.
Normally their work would be recognized as part of a unit citation, but what they did was so critical to a major case, the awards committee felt they had to be recognized separately, Rutz said Thursday. “Each one did something different and major,” he said.
A unit citation will be presented in the next couple of weeks to Sergeants Chris Pate, Jim O’Shea and Michael Thornley and Officers Dan Humphreys, Mike Fries, Jennifer Casey, Glen Czernik and Mike Swierczynski for their efforts, Rutz said Thursday. They will be recognized during a roll call, he added. All of the River Forest officers will get ribbons to wear on their uniforms.
In all, 30 officers from ten jurisdictions were involved in some part of the case, Police Chief Greg Weiss said during Monday’s meeting.
Devin A. Bickham Sr., 39 and his 20-year-old son Devin Ardvell Bickham, both of Blue Island and Cardell Taylor, 35, of Chicago, are each charged with. They all are being held without bond at the Cook County Jail. Their next court date is Aug. 29.