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Daddy catches bad guys: Cops bring kids to award ceremony

Susanna Leja, 5, makes sure her father, Officer Jacek Leja's hat is perfect at the Chicago Police Department Commendation Ceremony at the Public Safety Building, 3510 S. Michigan. Tuesday, January 20, 2015 | Brian Jackson/ Sun-Times

The young children of Chicago Police officers, many nestled against uniformed shoulders during a Chicago Police award ceremony Tuesday morning, seemed to understand, to varying degrees, this simple concept: “Daddy or Mommy catches bad guys.”

Ryan Sheahan

Chicago Police Officer Ryan Sheahan, his wife, Anne, and their two children, Tommy, 5, and Mick, 3, at the Chicago Police Department Commendation Ceremony at the Public Safety Building, 3510 S. Michigan. Tuesday, January 20, 2015 | Brian Jackson/ Sun-Times

“He’s getting a trophy,” said Tommy Sheahan, 5, who’s father, Ryan, received a certificate and a pat on the back from Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy for collaring a man who attempted to rob a currency exchange last year near 31st and Halsted.“It’s important, especially in this climate, for my kids to understand why I can’t be at all their birthday parties and that kind of stuff,” said Sheahan, 38, who works in the ninth district. “I wanted to bring them down and show them where I work and what I do.”

John Medina

Chicago Police Officer John Medina, Madison Medina 2 1/2 and Lilia Hurtado at the Chicago Police Department Commendation Ceremony. Tuesday, January 20, 2015 | Brian Jackson/ Sun-Times

John Medina’s daughter, Madison, who’s almost 3, was under the impression her dad was getting an “egg award” because the main character on her favorite television show (a chicken) hands out eggs for bravery and good deeds. Last year, Medina, who’s 35 and works in the eighth district, seized more than $100,000 in drug money and guns while responding to a call of a burglary in progress.

Michael Durkin

Chicago Police Officer Michael Durkin and his two sons, Connor, 5, and Ryan, 3, at the Chicago Police Department Commendation Ceremony. | Brian Jackson/ Sun-Times

Michael Durkin said his kids, Connor, 5, and Ryan, 3, were excited because they got to miss school. “I tell them that daddy arrested a bad guy and gets an award for it,” said Durkin, 33, who arrested a man who was accused of killing his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend. “We caught him by surprise . . . he was asleep when we found him,” said Durkin, who works in the eighth district.

Murphy Rayl

Sgt.Murphy Rayl with son Brendan. Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

Murphy Rayl’s son, Brendan, 10, told his dad: “It’s dangerous, but I’m not worried for you because I know you’re not going to get shot or anything because I know you’re strong.”Rayl, 44, helped arrest three armed gang members who were headed into rival territory to seek revenge for an earlier gang shooting.

“It’s nice to be recognized, especially in this day and age, you know?” Rayl said. “And it’s nice that family and friends can join in.”

Dozens of relatives and police officers attended the monthly ceremony at police headquarters at 35th and Michigan.

John O’Connor

Colin O’Connor, 4, and his dad, Chicago Police Officer John O’Connor. Tuesday, January 20, 2015 | Brian Jackson/ Sun-Times

“Daddy is getting an award,” John O’Connor explained to his son, Colin, 4. “It’s like when you do something good, something hard, and you get a trophy, like in T-ball,” he said.“Not T-ball, like in soccer,” his wife, Colleen, corrected with a smile.

O’Connor, 40, helped arrest three gang members who were shooting at a rivals car in the ninth district.