Officer Treston Schoeny typically works afternoon shifts with the Arlington Heights Police Department and as one of his ancillary jobs he works in forensics services. During last year’s National Night Out event at North School Park, he was demonstrating some of the forensics capabilities to families, when he noticed some commotion nearby.
Immediately, Schoeny rushed to the scene. There he found 7-year old Colin Connolly choking on something and panic-stricken because he could not breathe. Schoeny immediately jumped into action and administered an abdominal thrust which dislodged a piece of candy from his throat. Colin dissolved into tears and was scooped by his father, Neil, who comforted him. The whole incident was captured on another officer’s body camera.
“He saw the commotion and didn’t hesitate,” says Arlington Heights Police Chief Nick Pecora. “He rushed over and responded.”
Pecora and the department’s command staff thought so much of Schoeny’s heroic actions that they presented him with a Commendation Award at an Arlington Heights Village Board Meeting, where Mayor Tom Hayes presented it to him, with young Colin and his family in attendance.
Recognition for his heroic action continues. Just last month, members of the Emerald Society of Illinois — made up of Irish American law enforcement officers — honored Schoeny with its Livesaving Award. The presentation happened during the group’s Rib-fest, where Schoeny was honored along with an officer from the Joliet Police Department.
Turns out the Emerald Society has been presenting various awards to fellow officers since 1994. The Lifesaving Award is decided by incidents submitted from its membership to the Board of Directors.
“The criteria is left up to the wisdom and experience of current and retired officers. Most of the Board of Directors have over 20 years of experience in law enforcement,” says Tim Burns, Emerald Society secretary. “I believe that to be honored by your peers is more meaningful to the recipient.”
Current and retired members of the Arlington Heights Police Department were on hand for the presentation, and were justifiably proud. Lifesaving awards and department commendation awards are few and far between, Pecora says, since acting heroically comes with the job description.
“A lot of times we’re in the right place at the right time, and you respond as part of your job,” he says. “But when an officer does something that goes above and beyond, that should be recognized.”