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Morris Detective honored as Morris' Officer of the Year

MORRIS – Detective Alicia Steffes is one of three Morris police officers to receive the “Officer of the Year” award from her peers for a third time.

“It’s always an honor,” she said Friday. “Our patrol division stays extremely busy and traditionally it goes to a patrol officer, which is respected and well-deserved. So not a lot go to [detectives].”

And the fact that it went to her in the Investigation Division was an even nicer surprise, she said.

Steffes was presented her award by Chief Brent Dite during Monday’s Morris City Council meeting.

The detective, who has been with Morris police for 10 years, was nominated by the administrative staff at the department, which includes its sergeants, deputy chiefs and the chief of police. They submit nominations after getting input from the other department members as well.

“With the cases she investigates, there are a lot of sensitive cases,” Dite said Friday. “She handles a number of cases involving abused children. The quality of her work is so high, and she doesn’t shy away from added duties.”

Before joining Morris in 2004, Steffes was a police officer for the San Bernardino Police Department in California, after she graduated from the Basic Law Enforcement Training Academy at the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, Dite told the council Monday.

She is certified as a field training officer, lead homicide investigator, juvenile officer and in forensic child interviewing.

Steffes received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Lincoln Christian College and has spent time in both the patrol and investigation divisions with the Morris department.

Previously, the Morris department put detectives in investigations on a rotation, but this practice was later discontinued and Steffes has remained in the investigation division with Detective Eric Werden for the last seven years.

“It gives us time to get to know the job, make contacts and get resources, and time to build a really strong team. It feels good,” she said.

Steffes also received the “Officer of the Year” recognition in 2004 and 2006 and has received Letters of Commendations, a Criminal Investigation Award recognized by the American Police Hall of Fame, and an Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists award for exceptional driving under the influence enforcement in 2007.

“Detective Steffes is a thoughtful, caring, hardworking officer who is passionate about her work as a Morris police officer,” Dite said to the council. “She is a dedicated officer who truly understands the important and vital role law enforcement officers contribute to society. She enthusiastically accepts additional duties and responsibilities and consistently performs her duties with the highest degree of integrity and professionalism. She comes to work every day hoping to make a difference in some way.”

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