CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Fallen Cincinnati Police Officer Sonny Kim and Fraternal Order of Police President Sgt. Dan Hils were among inductees into the "1132 Living Legends" Friday night.
The awards are given out each year by the private law enforcement peer recognition group made up of mostly retired and current Cincinnati police officers. They are not officially affiliated with the Cincinnati Police Department. Some members include Hamilton County, federal and Northern Kentucky law enforcement.
Each year, the group selects a few individuals, or "the best of the best," who have been key contributors to law enforcement and recognize them for their public service and leadership, said retired Cincinnati Police Lt. Joe Hall, one of the selection committee members.
Officer Kim, 48, was recognized for making the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.
He was shot and killed in June 2015 in what has been described as an evil ambush when he responded to reports of a belligerent man with a gun in Madisonville.
"Officer Sonny Kim was a very integral part of the community," Lt. Hall said. "He knew everybody on the beats, he was well-respected and provided outstanding service to the citizens."
The 27-year police veteran was working an overtime shift when he was killed, leaving behind a wife and three sons.
He also was noted for being a mentor to youth in the community. Officer Kim was known as "Sensei Kim" and owned the Japanese Karate-Do dojo in Symmes Township and was its main karate instructor.
Sgt. Hils, 50, a 29-year Cincinnati police veteran and SWAT negotiator, was recognized "for being a tremendous leader of the union" that represents the department's rank and file at a time when he also was struggling with the personal tragedy of losing his teenage daughter to a congenital heart defect, Lt. Hall said.
Meghan Hils, 18, died in her parents arms at their home in September.
"Dan secured some very decent pay raises for us and championed the causes of the common street officer by pursing problems with the police radios and calling for an investigation into the conditions at District 5," Lt. Hall said.
"The radios are a lifeline. If they do not work, we might as well be out there alone. It has been rumored that District 5 has been a sick building forever. Regardless of what they come up with, nobody should be working in those conditions," Lt. Hall said.
"We've had an inordinate amount of cancers diagnosed from officers who worked at District 5. The officers did not make a connection to the building until Dan raised the issue."
Six other past and present Cincinnati police officers were inducted:
- Retired Cincinnati Police Mounted Patrol Sgt. Phil Vickers
- Retired Cincinnati Assistant Police Chief Dale Menkhaus
- Cincinnati Police Officer Frank McGraw
- Cincinnati Police Officer Tony Brucato
- Retired Cincinnati Police Officer Al Havlis
- Retired Cincinnati Assistant Police Chief Ken Schneider
Nearly 100 "Living Legends" have been inducted into the group since the late 1980s.
Previous inductees include Cincinnati Police Officer Daniel Kowalski, who was on Cincinnati police's SWAT team when his helmet was shot twice by a gunman during a standoff, the helmet saved his life; Cindy Combs, Cincinnati police's first female assistant chief and Mike Allen, Hamilton County's former prosecutor.
This year's ceremony was held at Mr. Pitiful's bar in Over-the-Rhine.