Orland Park police officer Ryan Kielar-McNamara receives a hug from his father, Kevin, Monday night during the quarterly awards ceremony. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Orland Park police officer Ryan Kielar-McNamara receives a hug from his father, Kevin, Monday night during the quarterly awards ceremony. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

More Orland cops honored while Capone’s appeals suspension

By Jeff Vorva

If it seems like every couple of months, the Village of Orland Park is honoring its cops, well, that’s because it is.

Mayor Keith Pekau phased out the once-a-year presentation in favor of honoring the police quarterly. His reasoning is that an annual presentation could be lengthy for family members and children to sit through, so chopping it up into four presentations per year makes the most sense.

During Monday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, several honors and promotions were given out. Pekau continued to praise the work the Orland Park police are doing.

“Our officers do an amazing job,” he said. “As I have said many times, I know what it’s like to go into danger than away from it. However, I can tell you when I faced flying in combat, it was nothing to what our officers face day in and day out.

“Any traffic stop can turn dangerous in a second if they encounter the wrong person on the wrong day.”

Sworn in on Monday were Sgt. Casey Wall and officers Lindsey Vanderlaan, Amanda Pratl, Ryan Kielar-McNamara and Cody Gestes. Commanders Wayne Lee and Lt. William Fitzgibbon were a part of a badge pinning ceremony.

Exceptional Service awards were presented to Fitzgibbon, tactical officers Tyler Lorek, Dave Hansen Nate O’Connor, Alex Vainer and Michael Benjamin plus investigator Chris Losurdo and officers Maria McKendry and Sean Murphy.

Unit Citations were given to Fitzgibbon, Benjamin, Lorek, Hansen, O’Connor, tactical officer Alex Vainer and officer Dan Livingston.

Life Saving awards were presented to officers William Kazmierczak, Chris Pratl, Gordon Przislicki and Thomas Healy.

Smoke shop hearing

Between the Committee of the Whole meeting and regular board meeting, a hearing was held as Capone’s Smoke Shop Inc. appealed a suspension of its tobacco license.

The village suspended and fined the shop after police found the store not only sold tobacco to minors three times in the span of a year, the workers who sold the products were also minors in two of the cases.

Attorney Jeff Javors, representing Capone’s, said his clients had their due process violated and questioned the method of underaged customers being used by police to catch alleged violators.

Javors said these teenagers do not testify at hearings, that their statements are “hearsay” and the system is unethical.

Village Attorney Donna Norton said the teenagers are employed as Tobacco Enforcement Agents by the police and their identities are kept anonymous. She said compliance checks found the violations as police said identification was never asked for in the three instances.

The trustees met in executive session after the hearing and will have a written decision coming in 7-10 days following the hearing.

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