How is a hero defined? Webster’s Dictionary defines a hero as “a person admired for achievements and noble qualities.” Ask a child who they say a hero is and they say Superman, Batman or their parents. In the world of truck enforcement, a hero is the police officer who does his best to be a model for teamwork, ethics and integrity. How does one know who that officer is? Read on to find out!
For several years, the Illinois Truck Enforcement Association has been honoring local police officers who have shown they not only care about policing trucks, but protecting the trucking industry through their enforcement. These officers have realized the safety of Illinois’ roads is more important than creating revenue for the areas they serve.
A good truck officer continues his education well beyond the basic truck enforcement classes. He or she makes connections and relies on others when they are unsure if they are making the correct decision. That same officer is also a resource for other police officers, as well as the driver and companies he works with on the street.
Police officers take an ethical oath of office when they are sworn into service. They swear they will uphold the laws to the best of their abilities. A top-notch truck officer takes the oath further and agrees they will not bend laws to fit their needs. Illinois truck law is complicated, and all police officers should be on the same page when it comes to interpretation and enforcement of the laws.
Unfortunately, the history of truck enforcement in Illinois has had questionable moments. For instance, officers have been taught if they do not have scales to weigh a truck, they could use any weight information available to write a ticket based on non-statutory evidence.
Practices like this do not fit the integrity model a good police officer holds dear. Throughout the history of the ITEA, many poor enforcement practices which were once commonplace have been corrected. The Truck Officer of the Year award showcases how an officer’s integrity comes before ticket writing and revenue creating.
2017 is the fourth year for the Glenn Strebel Truck Officer of the Year award. The past three winners have been excellent stewards of the award and have continued to be models for future recipients. Glenn Strebel, the police officer for whom the award is named, was a part-time police officer for East Dundee, Illinois. As the ITEA was being created in 2009, Glenn passed away from cancer. This award is a way for the ITEA to honor officers like Glenn, who believed in the mission the ITEA would soon undertake.
The first award winner was Sergeant Andrew Thomas of the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office in 2015. Sergeant Thomas has continued to share his knowledge with new truck officers by teaching at the ITEA’s state certified classes.
In 2016, the honor went to Vernon Hills Police Officer Art Fink. Officer Fink created a truck enforcement program when there wasn’t one, and became a driving force of fair truck enforcement practices in Lake County. Officer Fink continues to be a leader by serving on the board of the ITEA and helping with various programs directed at training police officers and the trucking industry.
The current award recipient is Officer Tim Sheldon of the Hillsboro Police Department. Officer Sheldon has been an integral part of bringing high standards of truck enforcement to a part of the state with very little enforcement. Officer Sheldon continues to participate with the ITEA and spread the mission to places outside of the Chicago suburbs.
So now it’s up to the readers to nominate the award winner for 2017. The nomination process is now open and can be found at the ITEA website HERE. Please take a moment to honor a police officer who is doing things right.