Moving Forward

  • Welcome to The City of Crest Hill

     
     
  • Welcome to The City of Crest Hill

     
  • Welcome to the City of Crest Hill

Crest Hill Adds Two New Police Officers

The morning of Monday, September 19 was an encouraging day for the City of Crest Hill. Two new members of the Crest Hill Police Department were sworn in by City Clerk Vicki Hackney. Both Brandon Urquidi and Patrick Shea stood proud as they recited the oath before family and friends. Mayor Ray Soliman along with Police Chief Dwayne Wilkerson and Deputy Chief Ed Clark welcomed and wished both men a long, successful career with the City of Crest Hill.

Urquidi, a Joliet native and Joliet Junior College graduate, served briefly with the West Chicago Police Department before filling the vacancy with Crest Hill. His father, Fernando Urquidi, is a highly decorated Joliet Policeman. Officer Fernando Urquidi received the Martin S. Murrin award in 2015. This award is the highest honor in the Joliet Police Department given for outstanding bravery, heroism, selflessnes, personal courage and devotion to duty. 

Shea, of Frankfort, graduated from Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa. Patrick is also the son of a policeman. Detective Patrick Shea is a nearly 30 year veteran of the Burbank Police Department. 

Urquidi and Shea should prove to be fine officers with the City of Crest Hill.

 

Patrick Shea, Mayor Ray Soliman, and Brandon Urquidi                                         Patrick Shea, City Clerk Vicki Hackney, and Brandon Urquidi

Crest Hill Eliminates City Stickers

In a long, hard effort by the City Clerk's Office working in conjuction with the the City Administrator and the City Attorney, the City Council voted unanimously to repeal the city's ordinance on requiring residents to purchase city stickers. Vicki Hackney, City Clerk, led the charge in making this change, a policy that has been in place almost as long as Crest Hill has been an official municipality. The Herald News covered the August 15 City Council meeting and the story can be read here.

CREST HILL DEPUTY CHIEF GRADUATES FBI NATIONAL ACADEMY PROGRAM

The streets of Crest Hill are a little safer now that Deputy Chief Brad Hertzmann is back from Quantico, Virginia. Hertzmann spent 10 weeks this spring at the FBI Headquarters while completing and graduating from the FBI National Academy Program. He spent 2 ½ months with law enforcement officers from all over the country and the world as one of the 213 officers selected for the training.

The 264th Session of the National Academy consisted of men and women from 47 states and the District of Columbia as well as 21 international countries. The training gives these special law enforcement professionals 10 weeks of advanced education in leadership, communication, and fitness training. On average, these officers have 19 years of law enforcement experience and usually return to their agencies to serve in executive-level positions.

Not everyone who wears a badge has the opportunity to attend the FBI National Academy Program. Most of the law enforcement officers selected for this unique training are carefully screened and have proven records as professionals within their agencies.

“I applied in 2012 and was not selected to go through the course until spring 2016,” says Chief Deputy Hertzmann. “It’s an incredible experience. I was able to connect with not only domestic police officers but international police officers as well. I learned so much from going through such high profile cases in forensics, cybercrime, and counter-terrorism.”

Training for the program is provided by the FBI Academy instructional staff, Special Agents, and other staff members holding advanced degrees, many of whom are recognized internationally in their fields of expertise.

Crest Hill Chief of Police Dwayne Wilkerson was in complete support of Hertzmann’s training. “It’s a hard course to get into,” says Wilkerson. “There’s a long waiting list and it’s such a sought after program which is what makes it so prestigious.”

Deputy Chief Hertzmann has been on the Crest Hill police force for 17 years. Knowing that he now has the training and knowledge of some the country’s most elite gives the community a peaceful feeling.

“We always want to promote continuing education for our police officers to keep up with current trends and changes in our society,” Mayor Ray Soliman says. “This distinguished honor will benefit our other officers and our community as a whole.”

The graduating officers were represented by the class spokesperson, Donald T. Tuten II, Chief of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office in Jacksonville, Florida. FBI Director James Comey was the principal speaker at the ceremony.

A total of 49,234 graduates now represent the alumni of the FBI National Academy since it began in 1935. For more information about the program visit www.fbi.gov/about-us/training/national-academy.

 

Sunshine Adorns Annual Lidice Commemoration

Sunny skies and light breezes encompassed the corner of Hosmer Lane and Prairie Avenue on a beautiful June 12 morning. This is the site of Lidice Memorial Park. On this particular Sunday, the commemoration of a small town in the Czech Republic takes place. Although the memories of what happened on June 10, 1942 are horrific, the ceremony was as remarkable as the blue skies that graced the park. 

Nearly 150 people from all over the Chicagoland area, and some from the Czech Republic itself, came to memorialize the lives lost during the reign of the WWII Nazi regime in Europe. Few distant relatives and friends of victims sit in the audience teary eyed as they remember their loved ones.    

It was 74 years ago that Nazi Germany had destroyed the small village of Lidice, Czechoslovakia, killing 173 adult males and 52 women. The women and children who survived were sent to concentration camps. After the war ended, only 153 women and 17 children returned. Lidice was a very small, quiet agricultural village about 24 km (about 15 miles) northwest of Prague. Today, Lidice has less than 500 residents and houses a few stone ruins of a farmhouse and church as well as a bronze sculpture of the children who died as a result of the massacre. This effigy far outweighs the symbolism and sensitivity most at the Crest Hill ceremony can even imagine. 

To open the ceremony at Lidice Memorial Park, John Pritasil, the President of the Czechoslovak American Congress, welcomed those in attendance and thanked them for being a part of the memorial. As the Central District American Sokol posts the waving flags of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and the United States, the United Moravian Societies Singers lead the congregation in all three patriotic anthems respectively. Special guest speakers included Klara Moldova, Secretary of the Czechoslovak American Congress, Borek Lizec, Consul General of the Czech Republic, Charlotte "Toni" Brendel, Chair of the Lidice Memorial Service and Vice President of the Phillips Czechoslovak Community Festival in Phillips, Wisconsin, and Vera Wilt, Past President of the Czechoslovak American Congress. Mayor Ray Soliman also recognized the poignancy and importance of the day's affair as he identified some elected officials in the audience. Among the elected officials present were Illinois Senators Pat McGuire and Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, State Representative Natalie Manley, and Will County Executive Larry Walsh. Crest Hill City Officials included Aldermen Scott Dyke and John Vershay, Alderwomen Barb Sklare and Tina Oberlin, and City Clerk Vicki Hackney. Several Crest Hill staff members were also on hand. 

The most heart-breaking moment of the observance appeared in the form of children from the T.G. Masaryk Czech School in Cicero, Illinois. These students recited then translated into English poems written by Lidice children in concentration camps. Listeners could feel the intensity and sadness of the words as if they were sitting next to the little ones who had written them; words of children who had wished to live a place where family and friends do not get killed.  

However sorrowful the moment, elegance and splendor brought an uplifting spirit as the United Moravian Societies Singers once again reminded everyone the beauty in cultural diversity. The American Sokol retired the colors while members of the ceremony and those in attendance had the opportunity to mingle and learn about each other and Lidice. Alderwoman Tina Oberlin who is the Chair and organizer of the Lidice Memorial is hoping for a grander event in 2017, the 75th Anniversary of the Lidice remembrance. Crest Hill is one of only two locations in the United States that has a memorial to Lidice. The other is in Phillips, Wisconsin. More about the Crest Hill Lidice Memorial can be found at here.