Law and Order, Local, Local Police Reports, Park Forest

Giovanni Goycochea is the 2023 Police Officer of the Year

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Citing his self-initiated activity, thorough investigations, lifesaving actions, and positive attitude, the Park Forest Police Department named Giovanni Goycochea the 2023 Officer of the Year. This is a quick recognition for an officer who only joined the department in April 2022. The award recalls a perilous situation last July when five-year-old Jada Moore died at the hands of her grandparents. Officer Goycochea was the first on the scene to perform CPR on the child until paramedics arrived.

Jada’s death is one of the saddest chapters in village history. Her case drew national attention.

Recognition from Fellow Officers

Police Chief Brian Rzyski read the citation honoring Officer Goycochea. The recognition comes from members of the PFPD. His fellow officers recognized Goycochea for his “courteous and professional manner.” The citation notes that the Officer of the Year commits to arresting “those who commit crimes in Park Forest.”

According to the officer’s award, in 2023, Officer Goycochea conducted approximately 200 traffic stops. He made 15 self-initiated misdemeanor arrests and six self-initiated felony arrests. He also seized several vehicles related to gun and DUI arrests.

I have seen his name numerous times in reports throughout 2023.

The narrative of Officer Goycochea’s award follows.

Officer of the Year Giovanni Goycochea
Officer of the Year Giovanni Goycochea standing proud at attention in the board room following his recognition. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski)

Throughout the past year, Officer Goycochea has worked extremely hard and has performed in an exemplary manner. Since joining the Police Department in April 2022, he is eager to learn, has a pleasant and positive outlook, and does his job without complaint.

The award notes Officer Goycochea thinks tactically when responding to calls and consistently produces self-initiated activity daily. His fellow officers see him as “firm, yet fair when handling any given situation.” He conducts himself courteously and professionally, the award notes.

Officer Goycochea routinely assists other officers on calls and volunteers to complete supplemental reports.

Officer Goycochea always conducts thorough investigations, the award notes. He commits to arresting those who commit crimes in Park Forest. He looks “beyond the ticket,” looking for weapons, drugs, intoxicated drivers, and other offenses that lead to quality arrests.

“During the past year, Officer Goycochea has led his shift in all self-initiated activity,” the award notes. He has conducted approximately 200 traffic stops, has made 15 self-initiated misdemeanor arrests, six self-initiated felony arrests, and seized several vehicles related to gun and DUI arrests.

Vehicle Parked and Running

In one instance, the award notes, during the very early morning hours, Officer Goycochea observed a vehicle parked and running. The driver of the car was sleeping. Goycochea “observed a handgun that was sticking out from [the driver’s] left inside jacket pocket,” police said in that report.

We reported on that incident here. It was on February 12, 2023.

According to the award citation, “Officers developed a plan, safely woke the subject, and removed the firearm from his jacket.”

According to police, the man in the car was under the influence of alcohol, and the gun was stolen, according to police. Officer Goycochea obtained a written confession, and the subject was charged with felony armed habitual criminal, felony unlawful use of a weapon by a person with a felony, driving under the influence of alcohol, improper parking on a roadway, illegal possession of alcohol, and processed on an Illinois Department Of Corrections parole warrant.

Stolen Vehicle

In another instance, Officer Goycochea stopped a stolen vehicle occupied by six subjects, and all were taken into custody to be interviewed. Officer Goycochea built rapport with each subject, according to the award. He reportedly spent over five hours conducting the interviews. Officer Goycochea learned the stolen vehicle was involved in an “Aggravated Vehicular Hijacking in Chicago Heights,” the award says.

Officer Goycochea obtained detailed information about the alleged carjacking and passed it along to the Chicago Heights Police Detectives, resulting in charges for one person of two counts of aggravated vehicular hijacking.”

Self-motivated and Hardworking

The award notes Officer Goycochea’s positive attitude and professionalism. He is “an inspiration to other officers he works with,” the award says. The PFPD considers him consistently “self-motivated and hardworking.” According to his fellow officers, “he is aggressive in producing a high amount of self-initiated activity and making quality arrests.”

His work ethic is inspiring, his colleagues note. “He is a true asset to the Park Forest Police Department, the award says.

The numerous lauds conclude, “Officer Goycochea is a fine example of what it means to be an outstanding Police Officer, and it is for these attributes that Giovanni Goycochea is named the 2023 Park Forest Police Officer of the Year.”