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John Kahl named Batavia Officer of the Year as police announce awards

BATAVIA – Several officers and civilian employees of the Batavia Police Department were honored recently for outstanding performance.

Officer John Kahl was named the department’s Robert A. Popeck Police Officer of the Year for 2016, and received a letter of commendation from police Chief Gary Schira, who recently retired.

The award is named for the late Bob Popeck, who served as Batavia police chief and later in city administration.

Kahl, who has been with the department for just three years, led the department in overall activity in categories including calls for service, traffic stops, misdemeanor arrests and case reports, Schira said.

“John again received numerous thank you letters from grateful citizens with whom he has interacted for both his professionalism and his polite demeanor,” Schira said.

Kahl was recognized with a letter of appreciation from the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists for his drunken driving enforcement efforts throughout the year, Schira said.

Receiving an honorable mention for the top officer award was Matthew White, who also received a letter of commendation.

White has served as a patrol officer, as an investigator, as the school resource officer at Batavia High School and, most recently, in his current assignment as the officer in charge of the day shift in the department’s patrol division.

Officer Chris Potthoff was selected by Schira for the Frederick G. Behner Chief’s Award. The award is named for the late Fred Behner, who served for many years as a Batavia police officer.

“Chris has played an integral role over the years in facilitating periodic labor-management meetings, as well as in the successful negotiation of several collective bargaining agreements between the Peace Officers Union and the city of Batavia,” Schira said.

Potthoff currently is assigned as the officer-in-charge on the midnight patrol shift. He was instrumental during his time as an executive board member for the union in the resurrection of the annual Batavia Fraternal Order of Police “Shop with a Cop” program, Schira said.

Records technician Pamela Stilin was named the department’s Civilian Employee of the Year.

“We can also always count on Pam to be here at a moment’s notice to fill any gaps in coverage in the records section,” Schira said. “She is often the first point of contact for walk-in requests for police assistance and non-emergency telephone calls.”

Receiving an honorable mention for the civilian award was property and evidence custodian Fred Buss, who retired as an officer with the department in 2012 after more than 33 years wearing the badge, and then moved into his current role.

Batavia resident Linda Hagemann, police liaison with the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office, also was honored with a letter of commendation.

“As a victim advocate, Linda works closely with citizens within our community who have suffered great physical and emotional loss as the result of criminal acts committed against them or their loved ones,” Schira said.

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