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Angela Rozas
Chicago Tribune

Over here, he was a police officer in the Morgan Park District, catching drug slingers on corners. Over there, he was a major in the Army, teaching the people of Afghanistan how to build hospitals.
If you bumped into Officer Michael Henderson at the training academy, where he works now, you might not know that he has been a military man for 17 years, earning enough rank to command scores of soldiers. That he is proud of every school his men helped teach the Afghani people to build. That he still feels the pain of sending three of his young charges home, shrouded in the U.S. flag.
If you met Probationary Patrol Officer James Kurth, you might think he seems a bit mature to be a rookie. But at 28, Kurth has already spent 11 years in the Illinois Army National Guard. In August 2007, just months after becoming a Chicago police officer, Kurth was sent to Kuwait to help repair aircraft engines, the same engines that would help fly soldiers to Baghdad and Tikrit.
There are 86 stories like Henderson's and Kurth's in the Chicago Police Department. Stories of officers who worked a district or a detective's desk for months or years, then were called to the front lines to fight or the back lines to rebuild.
On Tuesday, these 86 officers, 45 of whom are currently in Chicago, will be honored with the Military Deployment Award.
It's no surprise to Kurth that so many Chicago police are also military men and women. Soldiers and officers have common goals: to serve and protect.
"It's what's inside of you," he said Monday. "You're willing to help. You're willing to join in. You're looking for the bigger, common goal."
Going from cop to soldier to cop again isn't easy. Henderson missed two years of his son's and daughter's lives, watching them grow up on a Web camera.
He returned to Chicago so taut with vigilance, every corner he passed seemed dangerous.
"Over there, God forbid, you saw bodies going home," Henderson said. "Over there, we had to protect ourselves in accordance with the danger. And that's the same in the city of Chicago. ... It's tough here, and it's tough there."

Story From: Chicago Tribune
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