Officer Sean O’Brien
Evanston (IL) Police Department
Washington, DC—The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund has announced the selection of Officer Sean O’Brien, of the Evanston (IL) Police Department, as the recipient of its Officer of the Month Award for January 2014.
On March 5, 2013, Officer Sean O’Brien was spending his day off running errands with his girlfriend. As they headed home in the midst of a snowstorm, they observed a young boy in the middle of a busy intersection. Out of concern for the boy’s safety, and due to the increasingly dangerous weather conditions that day, Officer O’Brien pulled his vehicle off to the shoulder of the road and set out to speak to the child.
The young autistic boy had slipped away from his grandmother and was enamored by the Des Planes River. Officer O’Brien then saw the child pick up a large chunk of snow, hurl it into the freezing water below him, and jump into the river after it. Without hesitation, Officer O’Brien followed the boy into the frigid, waist-deep river. Though he could not see the boy, Officer O’Brien faintly noticed the orange Chicago Bears hat the boy was wearing. As quickly as he could, Officer O’Brien pulled the boy out of the river and brought him back to his vehicle. He turned the car heater up as high as it would go in an attempt to maintain the child’s body temperature and called emergency services. Shortly after, the child was taken to a local hospital for medical treatment and released later that day.
Once the boy’s parents were located, they explained that their son had wandered off from his grandmother’s house to play in the snow.
According to Commander Angela Hearts-Glass of the Evanston (IL) Police Department, “The temperature of the water was near freezing and the current could have swept the child away. Officer O’Brien acted without concern for his own safety. It is without dispute that Officer O’Brien performed a true act of heroism and bravery.”
This admiration for Officer O’Brien is echoed by Commander Joseph Dugan. “Officer O’Brien is a hard-working police officer who has the ability to be proactive in making arrests while still maintaining a positive relationship with members of the community where he patrols.”
During his five-year tenure with the Evanston (IL) Police Department, Officer O’Brien has been recognized for his good work on more than one occasion. In 2010, Officer O’Brien was awarded the Evanston Police Department’s Medal of Valor award for freeing a co-worker trapped in her burning vehicle after an automobile crash and stabilizing her until firefighters arrived. He has also received the department’s Officer of the Year Award; the City of Evanston’s Lifesaving and Valor Awards, and the Hero Award, presented by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn.
Located in the nation’s capital, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of America’s law enforcement officers. The Memorial Fund’s Officer of the Month Award Program began in 1996 and recognizes federal, state, and local officers who distinguish themselves through exemplary law enforcement service and devotion to duty.
Officer O’Brien, along with the other Officer of the Month Award winners for 2014, will be honored at a special awards luncheon in Washington, DC, in May 2015, during National Police Week. In addition, their stories of heroism and service will be featured in the Memorial Fund’s annual calendar.
The Police Unity Tour is the official sponsor of the Memorial Fund’s Officer of the Month Program.