Aurora cop saluted as employee of the year

A veteran detective who played a key role in a 16 month investigation that led to multiple indictments against 20 individuals has been named 2013’s Employee of the Year at the Aurora Police Department.

Investigator Steve Stemmet, who is assigned through the Special Operations Group to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Task Force (ATF), was honored for his work in a firearms and narcotics trafficking case that was led by the ATF in partnership with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security, and the Aurora Police.  

Nine of the 20 men indicted faced federal charges calling for minimum sentences of 15 to 20 years upon conviction.  The 11 others were charged under state statutes.  The investigation also resulted in the seizure of 12 handguns, 1276 grams of cocaine, 5.8 grams of heroin, 248 grams of cannabis, and over $11,000 in cash. 

Stemmet was chosen from a group of 27 Aurora Police Officers who displayed specific acts that went “above and beyond the call of duty” during 2013 and ranged from saving lives to solving high-profile crimes.

“This was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make as Chief of Police,” said Chief Greg Thomas during a ceremony held last week at the Aurora Police Department. “Every single one of the officers recognized today is deserving of this honor and I think I can speak on behalf of the entire department and the citizens we serve that we are extremely proud and thankful for their efforts and their service.”

Thomas said that Stemmet’s actions “demonstrate his passion for his profession and dedication to the citizens we serve. He put untold hours of work into this investigation, many of which were when he was off-duty. In the end, his efforts put some very violent and dangerous criminals behind bars for a long time and made the entire community a safer place.” 

Stemmet began his Aurora Police career as a patrol officer on March 29, 1999. He was assigned to the Special Operations Group in November, 2001 and then to the ATF Task Force in January, 2009. He has eight formal department commendations and numerous letters of appreciation.

In 2008, Stemmet, along with fellow Investigator Tom Maguire, were named November’s Co-Employees of the Month and nominated for the Kane County Police Officer of the Year for capturing three dangerous gang members and recovering a gun. 

The honors came after the two heard gunshots and observed an SUV leaving the area from where the shots were fired. They pursued the vehicle which was occupied by three men, and called for backup before the SUV crashed. When Stemmet and Maguire were approaching the vehicle, one of the men got out holding a handgun. He complied with the investigators’ orders to drop the gun. The three ended up being charged with multiple felonies in connection with the shooting and recovered gun.

Stemmet was named the Aurora Police Employee of the Month in July, 2010, for helping a Yorkville Police Officer give CPR to a man in a Yorkville home.  Stemmet was off-duty when he noticed the Yorkville Officer quickly park his squad and run into a house where a woman was frantically screaming outside. Seeing that the officer was alone and not knowing what the situation was, Investigator Stemmet parked his car, ran into the house, and helped the officer until paramedics arrived. 

In 2012, Stemmet, along with Aurora Police Sgt. Robb Wallers, shared Employee of the Month honors for working together on the arrest of a wanted gang member. 

–News Bulletin news sources