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Citizen praised for aiding Manteno police officer

October 3, 2018

MANTENO — An officer ruptured a tendon while responding to a domestic violence call in August, but it would have been much worse were it not for a citizen’s help.

On Monday, the citizen, David Johns, received a certificate of appreciation from the Manteno Police Department during a meeting of the village board.

During the domestic violence call, Officer Kevin Casey spotted a speeding car leaving the scene, Manteno Police Chief Al Swinford told the board. Not knowing whether the driver was involved, Casey stopped the car. When he exited his vehicle, the driver fled, and Casey started to pursue him. As he did, the officer ruptured his Achilles tendon.

Hearing the officer yell, Johns ran to assist him.

“Officer Casey, at that point, didn’t know what had happened to him and thought he was hit from behind and wasn’t sure if Mr. Johns was involved,” Swinford said. “For his effort, Mr. Johns got swore at and nearly got shot by a Taser. (Casey) soon realized (Johns) was there to help and deeply appreciated his assistance.

“While we don’t recommend citizens running in to help because we don’t want to see anyone else get hurt, we very much appreciate it,” Swinford said.

The chief said Casey would have attended the board meeting himself, but has issues standing for any length of time because of his injury.

Mayor Tim Nugent joined in praising Johns.

“Kevin was hurt bad. He is still in recovery mode. Without you helping him, it would have been a lot worse,” the mayor said.

Also at the meeting, Swinford announced two promotions — Detective Sean Prophet to the rank of sergeant and Sgt. Brian Lockwood to the rank of lieutenant.

Swinford called Prophet one of the most well-respected and experienced detectives in the county, noting his extensive experience with the Kankakee Metropolitan Enforcement Group, or KAMEG, and the Major Crimes Task Force.

“He has always provided informal leadership within the department,” the chief said.

On Lockwood, Swinford said, “He leads by his example, demonstrating a love of police work, a positive attitude and never asks anyone to do anything he isn’t willing to do himself.”

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