Uptown police pair in running for Officer of the Year award

The Minneapolis Police Department’s 5th Precinct has nominated two officers who work together as Uptown beat partners for the citywide Officer of the Year award.

Officers Adam Chard and Rob Illetschko were jointly named Officer of the Year title for the 5th Precinct and will now be considered for the citywide award.

Chard and Illetschko work the Uptown neighborhood beat, which includes the Hennepin Avenue area from 28th Street to 32nd Street and several blocks on each side.

 “Usually we nominate just an individual officer, but occasionally we’ll nominate partners in a situation where you have two beat officers that work together all the time,” said Sgt. Tim Mattsson of the 5th Precinct.

In early September, Illetschko was working alone on his bike beat during the night when he saw two bicyclists making a handoff. After stopping one of the suspects and learning it was a narcotics deal, he searched the man’s backpack and found a replica firearm, resulting in a gross misdemeanor charge.

Chard made some noteworthy arrests as well. During a bike patrol, a routine business alarm went off at the Tobacco Leaf store on Hennepin Avenue. Knowing the layout of the buildings in the area, Chard pedaled around to the back of the store and found two men loading a safe from the business into a vehicle. Mattsson said that without Chard’s knowledge of the lay of the land the criminals likely would have escaped.