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Minnesota State Patrol Honors Heroic Citizens and Announces Trooper of the Year
Agency Names Top DWI Enforcer for 2013
ST. PAUL – Finding victims unresponsive and performing CPR to help them breathe again. Taking chase to apprehend a suspect. Rescuing trapped people from vehicles and buildings. The law enforcement officers and citizens responsible for these heroic acts were among those honored today by the Minnesota State Patrol at its annual awards ceremony.
Each year, the Patrol honors citizens, troopers and other public servants who performed life-saving acts or excelled in a crisis to ensure safer Minnesota roads. The awards and their recipients include:
Meritorious Citizenship Awards – Presented to citizens who have assisted the State Patrol in providing a significant service to the public.
- Justin Bosshart, Travis Gulbranson, Nicole Smith, Jon Paul Spallees and Douglas Vigoren – At the scene of a jack-knifed truck tractor, Doug Vigoren found the driver was not breathing and had no pulse. He pulled him out of the cab with help from Jon Paul Spallees and Travis Gulbranson. Nicole Smith, who is trained in CPR, and Justin Bosshart, a St. Bonifacius firefighter, started CPR until rescue personnel arrived and the man began breathing on his own.
- Angie Westbrook (not in attendance)
Minnesota State Patrol Commendation Award – Presented to members of another law enforcement or emergency service agency who have assisted the State Patrol in providing a significant service.
- St. Paul Police Officer Nicole Carle (Joel Hoppe and Joel Hoppe, Jr., will be presented with Meritorious Citizenship Awards) – A traffic stop for an equipment violation escalated into a narcotics incident. As the driver was taken into custody, the passenger fled on foot. Off-duty St. Paul Police Officer Nicole Carle was driving by and gave chase. Joel Hoppe and Joel Hoppe Jr., also were nearby and helped tackle the fleeing suspect who was found to have a felony warrant for his arrest.
- Montgomery Police Dept. Sgt. Pete Bulger, Officer Pat Nelson, Officer Drew Van Guilder and Reserve Officer Troy Huber – At the site of a fatal crash that killed four people and seriously injured a fifth person, an SUV rolled over and caught fire, trapping the sole survivor in the other car. Montgomery Police Officers Pete Bulger, Pat Nelson, Drew Van Guilder and Reserve Officer Troy Huber used their squads to push the car away from the burning SUV so the injured victim could be safely extricated.
Life Saving Award – Presented to members of the State Patrol who distinguish themselves by performing acts that prevent the death of another.
- Sgt. Scott Boerner – A woman had an allergic reaction to peanuts, and used an EpiPen before attempting to driver herself to the emergency room. She became short of breath, pulled off the road and called 911. Sgt. Scott Boerner responded to the call, asked if she had a second EpiPen and assisted her in administering a full dose.
- Trp. Shawn Barta – While off-duty at his family cabin, Trp. Shawn Barta was watching his young son and a cousin doing somersaults. The cousin accidentally kicked the young boy in the chest, who then lost consciousness, turned blue and had minor convulsions. The trooper used his first aid training – opening the boy’s mouth and rolling him onto his side – to encourage breathing until a deputy arrived to administer oxygen.
- Trp. Dean Anfinson – At a campground he manages, off-duty Trp. Dean Anfinson heard a commotion at one of the camp sites. He found a man unresponsive. While his wife retrieved the camp store’s AED, he began CPR. When the AED arrived, he also administered two shocks, which restored the man’s heart rhythm.
- Trp. Francis Tutell – The trooper came upon a minor one-vehicle crash to find the driver who appeared to be having a heart attack and was unresponsive. Trp. Francis Tutell removed the woman, administered CPR with his AED and obtained a pulse.
- Trp. Paul Henstein and Trp. John Farmakes – Responding to a call of a vehicle carrying five children that was fully submerged in a holding pond, Troopers Paul Henstein and John Farmakes carried the first child pulled from the vehicle to an ambulance and began performing CPR with assistance from the paramedics. Trp. Henstein returned to the pond and ran a second child to an ambulance and began performing CPR with help from the ambulance crew. They both continued CPR efforts throughout transports to the Hennepin County Medical Center.
- Trp. Chris Fredrickson – Overhearing a nearby medical call, Trp. Chris Fredrickson found a woman performing CPR on her unresponsive husband. While she continued, he administered an AED. He then took over compressions until EMS arrived.
- Trp. Eric Lindberg – Dispatched to an injury rollover crash, Trp. Eric Lindberg found the car in a snow-filled ditch, rolled onto its driver’s side. The car’s broken driver’s-side window had allowed the vehicle to fill with snow and bury the driver inside. Unable to open the passenger side door and back hatch, he used his window punch to break the sunroof. He was then able to clear snow away from the driver’s head and mouth. In the 20 minutes it took for the ambulance to arrive in the wintry conditions, the trooper was able to clear snow from the rest of her body.
- CVI Ethan Hofschulte (Christopher Jennings will be presented with a Meritorious Citizenship Award) – On route to conduct school bus inspections, CVI Ethan Hofschulte came upon a rollover crash. Another driver, Chris Jennings, also witnessed the truck on its side in the median. They found the truck driver still inside and buried under the snow. Finding the doors locked, Ethan used his flashlight to break the passenger-side window to gain access clear the snow away from the driver’s face so she could breathe.
- Trp. Mike Hagen, Trp. Marc Hopkins, Lt. Brad Norland, Trp. Scott Parker, Trp. Wyatt Rudenberg and Trp. Scott Stueber (not in attendance)
Meritorious Service Award – Presented to employees for acts involving personal risk posing hazards which could lead to serious injury or loss of life to the employee.
- Trp. Nick Otterson – While driving, Trp. Nick Otterson heard and felt an explosion, and observed flames shooting out of the 2nd and 3rd floors of an apartment building. The windows had all shattered, with glass and debris littering the street. The trooper and a Minneapolis officer who also was driving by approached the building and found many people hanging out of windows calling for help. While additional help arrived, the two attempted to catch people who were jumping from the windows and rendered aid to the victims already on the ground. The two of them removed 13 victims from the building and area.
Exceptional Service Award – Presented to employees who have provided extraordinary service in the performance of their duties.
- CWO4 David Latt – As part of the State Patrol’s Flight Section, Trp. Dave Latt was called to a mudslide that swept away four children. The trooper piloted his helicopter to lift a severely injured child to a waiting ambulance. The next day, he performed a similar maneuver and rescued an injured hiker from the Mississippi River bluffs.
- Sgt. Scott Zehr – Using skills learned both in the military and law enforcement, Sgt. Scott Zehr is a Statewide Firearms Coordinator, responsible for scenario-based training, both combat shooting and interior patrol squad defense and, most recently, active shooting. He has worked with the fleet lieutenant to provide patrol cars designed for realistic training, and provided a transition to true qualification versus a shooting exercise. He has oversight of standards and maintenance of the weapons system, was a driving force to transition to Gen 4 Glock firearms, finished the move to long gun rifles, and created an excellent recordkeeping system.
- Radio Communications Operator Talman Wiles – On his way into work, RCO Talman Wiles came across a one-vehicle crash. The driver of that vehicle had been following a friend from Illinois to Rochester. In the lead car was the victim’s friend, her daughter, and the victim’s 7- and 11-year-old daughters. Knowing that the victim died from the crash injuries, Talman had the friend follow him to a nearby hotel and comforted the children while the friend contacted family and friends.
- CWI Cindy Harms, Sgt Bob Hauge and CVI Chad Olschlager (not in attendance)
Eagle Squadron Award - Presented to the Minnesota State Patrol trooper who arrested the greatest number of impaired drivers the previous year.
- Trp. Gordon Shank – In 2013, Trp. Gordon Shank arrested 217 impaired drivers.
Leadership Award – Presented yearly to the employee who consistently exhibits outstanding leadership and excellence in public safety through their personal actions, guidance, direction and professional involvement.
- Lt. Dan Lewis – In November 1986, Lt. Dan Lewis was appointed as a Minnesota State Patrol trooper in November of 1986. In 1991, he became a use-of-force and firearms instructor and, in 1992, he became a lead firearms instructor for the academy and incumbent training. He is one of the original 15 troopers who were selected when the Special Response Team was formed in 1992. As a result of his leadership abilities, he was quickly assigned as an assistant team leader and later as team leader. As part of the SRT, Dan was assigned to assist the Minneapolis Police Department in the summers of 1996, 2003 and 2006 due to the high volume of violent crimes. Shortly after his promotion to lieutenant in 2011, he was asked to rejoin the team as the Special Response Team commander. He retired from the SRT in August 2013. As field lieutenant, he supervises 12 troopers. In addition to his support of the troopers, his mentorship and advice to the district’s three newer lieutenants has been critical over the past year as they continue to grow in their leadership roles.
Civilian Employee of the Year - Presented to the non-sworn employee who best demonstrates outstanding work performance, initiative, leadership and effective interpersonal relations.
- Commercial Vehicle Inspector Eric Sundby – Currently assigned to a training position for District 4700, CVI Eric Sundby’s duties also include serving as an instructor for the Federal Motor Carrier’s National Training Center and spokesperson for the agency. He conducts 40-50 presentations annually about CDL requirements, hours of service regulations and commercial vehicle safety
Trooper of the Year – Presented to the trooper who best demonstrates outstanding work performance, initiative, leadership and effective interpersonal relations.
- Sgt. Eric Barthel – Training & Development Section – Serving with the Minnesota State Patrol since 1999, Sgt. Eric Barthel has been a field trooper and field training trooper, and now serves as the Technology Coordinator. He not only instructs, he also creates his curriculum, lesson plans, tests, and handles all logistics. He developed an e-learning system for the Minnesota State Patrol and helped the Iowa State Patrol to implement a similar program. In August 2013, he was recognized for providing workplace safety training for Department of Public Safety employees, where he assembled a Power Point presentation and taught active shooter classes 14 times during a five-day period reaching more than 500 employees. He continues to provide road patrol services with District 2600 and the metro during poor weather conditions.
The annual Minnesota State Patrol Awards are supported by the Hiway Federal Credit Union.
About the Minnesota Department Public Safety
DPS comprises 11 divisions where 2,100 employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management. DPS activity is anchored by three core principles: education, enforcement and prevention.
About the Minnesota State Patrol
More than 500 Minnesota State Patrol troopers are the foundation of the agency that works to provide a safe environment on Minnesota’s roads by assisting motorists, taking enforcement action, and educating drivers about traffic safety issues. In addition to road safety activities, troopers conduct flight patrols, search and rescue missions, and assist other law enforcement agencies.
In 1929, the Minnesota Legislature created the Highway Patrol after lawmakers recognized the need for a traffic enforcement agency in response to the boom of automobiles. The first patrol force comprised 35 men. In 1970, the Highway Patrol became a division of the Department of Public Safety, and four years later its official name was changed to the Minnesota State Patrol.
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445 Minnesota Street, Suite 100 | Saint Paul, Minnesota 55101-5155 | dps.mn.gov