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East Peoria officer injured in February altercation named ‘Most Outstanding Officer of the Year’

EAST PEORIA (HOI) — The East Peoria police officer who was severely injured in a February altercation with a suspect has been named ‘Most Outstanding Officer of the Year’ by the Illinois Police Chief’s Association.

Jeffrey Bieber

Patrolman Jeffrey Bieber will be honored at the August 20 ILACP Annual Awards Banquet in Tinley Park.

Bieber, on February 2, was responding to a domestic disturbance call in East Peoria. Bieber tracked down the suspect’s vehicle to a CVS Pharmacy parking lot when the driver got out.

Then, Bieber noticed blood on Joshua Crites’ hand and offered medical assistance.

Crites then pulled a knife and attacked Bieber, stabbing him in the head and neck, damaging nerves and hitting an artery.

Bieber during the struggle was able to discharge his firearm.

Related: Local police officer recounts harrowing stabbing that nearly killed him

Crites was pronounced dead at the scene.

“This is one of those scenarios that can happen to any officer in any part of Illinois on any day,” said Ed Wojcicki, ILACP executive director. “In fact, officers in Illinois face levels of noncompliance on a daily basis and are victims of physical and verbal violence. Bieber used his training to attempt less-than-lethal responses such as creating distance and deploying his Taser, but ultimately the situation put Bieber’s life in grave danger.”

Bieber was taken to the hospital after the incident and recovered for several months before returning to work.

East Peoria Police Chief Rich Brodrick nominated Bieber for the Medal of Valor, “But when our Awards Committee reviewed the nominations, it recommended an even higher honor, Officer of the Year, because of Officer Bieber’s bravery and sacrifice in a very intense encounter,” said Wojcicki.

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