FREEPORT - Freeport Police Lt. Detective Andrew Schroeder reflects on a day that could have changed his life.
"I was running 20 to 25 feet behind this guy for a period of time," said Schroeder.
He was responding to a Mobile Gas Station in Freeport in December of 2016, where shots rang out injuring two people.
"We're often running out of the building and going out [on scene] to assist the uniform patrol personnel."
With no hesitation, he headed out the door wearing his badge around his neck in plain clothing. Schroeder was among the first responding officers to the scene, but what Schroeder didn't know as he hopped into his unmarked squad car, is that he would end up in a foot pursuit with an armed suspect.
"Afterwards I realized I was in close proximity to an armed suspect and I did not have any vest protection on at all at that time."
No vest protection at all, it was a moment that has stuck with him since knowing that at any given second things could have taken a turn for the worst.
"It definitely makes you think about what could have gone wrong there and the danger that I was in that position."
But Stephenson County Crime Stop donated 17 new body armor carriers for their bullet proof vests that can be put on in a moments notice for all non-uniformed officers, including detectives and the command staff at the Freeport Police Department.
"It allows all those personnel, your detectives, your administrative staff, those type of personnel to have their body armor in a carrier that can be quickly put on in an emergency situation."
While most detective work is done in the office, Schroeder says it's also a common occurrence for him and the several detectives he supervises to respond to calls.
"You've had detectives and administrative personnel actively engaged in foot pursuits with armed suspects. We've had shootings in broad daylight."
Now Schroeder and his fellow police officers can do what they do best, continue to fight crime in Freeport thanks to one generous donation helping the men and women in blue who keep us safe, so they too can go home safe at night.
"Going forward having something like this will make me feel a lot safer in those situations."
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