Bridgeview Police Sgt. Jason Stein (center) shares his Medal of Honor moment with brother-in law Mark Calcut (left), sister Sherri Calcut, stepdad Roger Shell and sister Theresa Hausmann. (Supplied photo) 

Bridgeview Police Sgt. Jason Stein (center) shares his Medal of Honor moment with brother-in law Mark Calcut (left), sister Sherri Calcut, stepdad Roger Shell and sister Theresa Hausmann. (Supplied photo) 

State Police honor Bridgeview Sgt. Stein for bravery

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By Steve Metsch 

It’s true, Bridgeview Police Sgt. Jason Stein said.

When death seems imminent, your life does indeed flash before your eyes.

“You see your life pass before your eyes. You do. Oh, yeah. Everything. Some stuff I didn’t want to remember,” Stein said.

For his death-defying moment – a gun was pointed at his head nearly four years ago – Stein earned a top honor from the Illinois State Police.

Stein was among 136 police officers from 41 agencies statewide who on May 31 received the Medal of Honor from the Illinois State Police in a ceremony attended by Gov. JB Pritzker.

Thanks to the pandemic, this was the first such ceremony held since 2016. Honored were officers in incidents from 2017 through 2022.

“I’m honored. Very honored,” Stein said after the June 7 village board meeting.

The Medal of Honor is awarded to officers who have been killed or seriously injured in the line of duty or who have displayed exceptional bravery or heroism while performing their duties as a law enforcement officer.

Stein’s moment found him staring down the barrel of a handgun on Oct. 1, 2019.

“I was involved in a shooting incident. I was transporting a person and my squad car was rear-ended by a man driving a stolen vehicle. He was on parole for murdering his wife. He pointed his gun at me. Unfortunately, I had to fire twice,” Stein said.

He takes no pride in the fact that the man died but, given the circumstances, he had no choice.

As he noted, police officers are trained to defend themselves when their lives are threatened.

“It’s something I wish I never had to do,” Stein said. “You’re not given very much of a choice. … It’s what we’re trained to do.”

Stein had never before fired his gun in the line of duty.

The shooting took place in the parking lot of Pete’s Fresh Market, 10280 S. Harlem Ave., around 7 p.m. that evening.

The person he was transporting to the police department was the man’s girlfriend.

While pointing the gun at then Officer Stein, the man “demanded the release of his girlfriend.”

“Again, it’s an unfortunate incident. He was a troubled man. He came back from the Army, had PTSD, had a hard time coming back, the tragic incident with his wife, (and he) got addicted to drugs,” Stein said.

Stein, 55, has been with the Bridgeview Police Department for 24 years. He was promoted to sergeant in January.

Being a policeman “is something I always wanted to do,” he said, because he enjoys “helping people.”

Prior to joining the Bridgeview Police Department, Stein was a dispatcher for the Naperville Police Department, then attended the Chicago Police Academy for training.

Pritzker praised the award recipients.

“Every single one of our Medal of Honor Awardees exemplify the unwavering unselfishness and courage that it takes to be a true public servant,” Pritzker said.

“From the July 4th Highland Park massacre to hostage situations and armed robberies, Illinois’ police officers respond to our most daunting emergencies with resolve and selflessness — and on behalf of the people of Illinois, we couldn’t be more grateful,” Pritzker added.

Illinois State Police Director Brendan F. Kelly said: “The special souls we pay tribute to meet the common daily challenge of enforcing our laws with uncommon bravery.

“The Law Enforcement Medal of Honor Committee and the Illinois State Police honor these heroes, some who paid the ultimate price, in the pursuit of justice and the protection of public safety,” Kelly said.

The Law Enforcement Medal of Honor Committee was established in statute through the Law Enforcement and Fire Fighting Medal of Honor Act in 1990.

Current committee members include ISP Director Kelly, Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board Executive Director Keith Calloway, Chicago Police Department Interim Superintendent Eric Carter, DeKalb Police Department Chief David Byrd, retired ISP Master Sergeant and St. Clair County Coroner Calvin Dye, and McHenry County Conservation District Police Chief Laura King.

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