Mike Rompa is modest when it comes to his recent win as Police Officer of the Year by the Exchange Club of .
Of the 111 sworn members in the department, “I think there are 110 more deserving,” said the lieutenant. “I am very honored to be selected.”
Rompa was honored last month along with Jimmy Chau of the , who was named Firefighter of Year.
The National Exchange Club’s Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Program began in the 1960s. The Bolingbrook club began giving away the awards in 2006, though there was a hiatus in 2010 and 2011 when the club presidents did not pursue participation, said current president Bill Strahanoski.
While in most Exchange Clubs members choose the winners, this year chiefs were invited to work with their own administrative staff in picking the winners, Strahanoski said.
Chau, who has been a Bolingbrook firefighter/paramedic since 2006, was honored for his part in the rescue of civilians who had broken through ice Dec. 11 at the . Chau entered the ice and water in ice rescue gear and proceeded to rescue a 15-year-old resident and a lifeguard who had jumped in to try and save the teen. He was assisted by other firefighters/paramedics and police officers.
According to Bolingbrook Fire Department Lt. Matt Olson, who nominated him, “(Chau) was suited up in the ice rescue gear as fast as I got the rope bags ready, and prepared to enter the water. This, despite the fact that I had forgotten about Jimmy's fear of water.”
“At no time did Jimmy consider his fear of water,” Olson said. “He understood the dangers of the job he was about to do and went forward quickly anyway.”
Chau was also recognized for his extensive volunteer efforts in mentoring and reading to kids throughout the .
Rompa, who began his career with the Bolingbrook Police Department in 1995, has received two department citations and numerous commendations over the years. He was honored for his coordination of the department’s annual Shop With A Cop program. Over the years the program has enabled thousands of Bolingbrook children to participate by allowing those selected to accompany police officers throughout a store to pick items of the kid’s choice. Many of the children selected would not have the opportunity to receive gifts for the holidays.
Rompa has also been a volunteer coach in area youth athletics since 1991, and was named the 2011 Volunteer Coach of the Year for the Pop Warner Saints organization.
He is humbled to be awarded as Police Officer of the Year.
“There are numerous members of the Bolingbrook police who dedicate themselves to charitable and non-for-profit benefits, who do make a difference and have a positive impact on the community,” Rompa said. “I am humbled to be awarded as some of the recent recipients who have impacted thousands.”
He lauds the Bolingbrook Police Department’s style of policing and leadership over the years as “admirable.”
“We can handle any level of situation with confidence and have a very talented department,” he said. “The men and women of this department take pride in this profession and the community they serve. It is a pleasure to be a part of such an organization.”