Chicago police officers honored for courageous acts

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Friday was a special day for the Chicago Police Department as the city's heroes are honored for their courageous deeds.

Friday's awards for Chicago police officers come as officers has been under heightened scrutiny.

"It's not an easy time to be the police and yet everyday police officers across the city put on their uniforms, their vests, kiss their families goodbye and put their lives at risk," Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said.

The Superintendent's Award of Valor was awarded to several officers including two who are credited with saving eight family members from a gunman who took them hostage in their own home in January at 73rd and Paulina.

"It happened pretty fast. We were worried about the people inside. I was worried about my partner. We did what we had to do and made sure everybody was safe," police officer Arnulfo Gomez said.

"It's nice to help people out and get some positive response. It works for us and the community as well," police officer David Pasillas said.

The Police Blue Star awards for officers injured include Officer Veronica Murillo.

In October, Officer Murillo was among the officers responding to a car into a business at Roosevelt and Cicero.

The suspect, apparently under the influence, lashed out at Murillo.
Police video shows him grabbing the officer and severely beating her.

Her supervisors said with the attention on police use of force she was reluctant to use her weapon. She is still recovering.

"To have them around me here, it's exciting and it's a very joyous occasion because it isn't just for me. It's for everyone," Murillo said.

Murillo is eager to get back to work. Prior to the incident, she was also a hockey player.

"That's also a goal. I need to hit the ice again," Murillo said.

Murillo acknowledges the difficult recovery, but she said Friday was a good day.

Additionally, the Chicago Police Academy welcomed 84 new recruits on Friday morning. The new recruits are part of an effort by the city to hire 1,000 new police officers.

Over the next six months, the recruits will learn laws, crisis intervention, community building and more.

The recruits will also undergo physical training, which started on Friday morning on a run with Mayor Emanuel.
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