During 2013, the City of St. Charles is producing a series of articles called Small Acts, Big Impacts that highlight the contributions of employees. Small Acts, Big Impacts is designed to raise public awareness of and appreciation for the value that City employees bring to effective local government and to make St. Charles a great community.
Every day members of the St. Charles Police and Fire departments make a difference in the lives of the citizens they serve. That difference can come in ways both big and small. Sometimes, it only takes a small act to create a big impact.
Isie Brindley, a 62 year-old resident, locked herself out of her home on a recent cold evening. She had no coat or shoes on as she stepped out to quickly tend to some holiday decorations when the locked door closed behind her. Living alone, Ms. Brindley always kept all her windows and doors locked, so there was no way to get back in. Thankfully, she had her cell phone with her. She contacted the St. Charles Police Department.
Patrol Officer Dawn Churney, a 20-year veteran of police work, 12 of those years with the St. Charles Police Department, answered the call. After several attempts trying to regain entry, Officer Churney resorted to calling a locksmith. “I felt terrible because I couldn’t get in her house and she had to pay for a locksmith,” she said. The two sat in the patrol car for an hour waiting for the locksmith to come from Yorkville.
Once the locksmith arrived, Officer Churney stayed until the work was done and she was sure Ms. Brindley was safe in her home. The fact that she remained there even after the locksmith arrived, “really made an impression on me,” said Ms. Brindley. She was so moved by Officer Churney’s thoughtful gesture, she wrote a letter of thanks to Police Chief James Lamkin. In it, she said:
“I would like to gratefully acknowledge Officer Churney’s professionalism, compassion and patience. In all, Officer Churney took 2.5 hours of her valuable time on a silly mishap that never should have occurred. Yet she approached this assignment with sincerity and respect, and for that I am very grateful…thank her for representing your department with efficiency and grace.”
Officer Churney said she went into law enforcement to help people on many different levels. She received the Partners in Peace award in 2004 for her work educating the public and law enforcement about domestic violence issues. “I try to treat people the way I would want to be treated if in a similar situation,” she said.
In 2011, St. Charles Police Department handled 16,168 calls for service and was recognized with the “Accreditation with Excellence” award for excellence in public safety professionalism. The hard work and commitment of the members of the St. Charles Police Department is reflected in the continued downward trend of crime in the City. For more information, including the latest Police Department Annual Report, please visit www.stcharlesil.gov/departments/police