Illinois State Police Special Agent Receives First Annual Tommy Kent Martin Award
CHARLESTON, IL - On Tuesday, April 3, 2012, Illinois State Police Special Agent Kim Cessna was presented the Tommy Kent Martin Memorial Award at the first annual “Champions of Children” banquet held in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union on Eastern Illinois University Campus in Charleston.
The event, sponsored by the Children’s Advocacy Center of East Central Illinois, resulted in several local award recipients being honored for their service to children. The ceremony was presided over by Mr. Dale Wolf and included guest speaker Representative Chapin Rose. The Center’s Executive Director, Pam Riddle, said the agency wanted to recognize people who help in the lives of children.
Special Agent Cessna was nominated for this award by her supervisors to recognize her outstanding work in a Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault investigation in Douglas County. During the course of this investigation, for which she served as the case agent, she interviewed several juvenile victims and organized the case which led to the defendant being sentenced to life in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
The award was presented by Laura Pitts, daughter of late Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Tommy Martin, for whom the award is named. Chief Deputy Martin was shot on June 21, 2007, while responding to a Home Invasion report in Douglas County and later succumbed to his injuries. Chief Deputy Martin was a retired Sergeant with the Illinois State Police, serving a majority of his career as a Crime Scene Investigator. This was the first year the award was presented.
The award recipient “is a professional who works with, or on behalf of children and youth in the counties of Clark, Coles, Cumberland, Douglas, Edgar, Moultrie, and Shelby. The awardee is an individual who has demonstrated a high level of commitment and direct service in the protection, treatment, education, or welfare of children through direct service, administration, education, investigation, or advocacy.”
Mrs. Pitts described she was tasked with reviewing the nominations for this award and that Special Agent Cessna’s application, and the description of the case investigated, reminded her of what her father stood for during his law enforcement career – as representing someone who always wished to speak on behalf of the victim, even when they couldn’t speak for themselves. In recognition of her award, Special Agent Cessna was presented a plaque which had been created by a young victim of a crime within the East Central Illinois area.
“Those of us in Zone 5 are very proud of Kim and all our agents who work tirelessly to help the citizens of Illinois, specifically children who have fallen victim to crimes of a sexual nature," said Illinois State Police Zone 5 Commander Lieutenant Tad Williams. "This award is particularly special due to our close relationship with Chief Deputy Tommy Martin and his family,” he added.