SPD honors its own during annual ceremonyShootings, stabbings and stranger rape – although rare in Superior – took center stage as the Superior Police Department honored its own Friday. Officers were honored for their efforts in solving and preventing crimes and keeping some from harming themselves.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
Shootings, stabbings and stranger rape – although rare in Superior – took center stage as the Superior Police Department honored its own Friday.
Officers were honored for their efforts in solving and preventing crimes and keeping some from harming themselves.
When Javier Garcia started target shooting at a dresser behind the Viking Bar in North End on July 4, his actions resulted in a woman at JT’s being shot in the foot. Officers responding to the scene and conducting the follow up investigation were among those honored Friday.
Officer Paul Winterscheidt, who responded to the scene, was given a distinguished service award for his actions that night. When shots rang out and bullets were striking parked cars, he and his partner moved bystanders to a position of cover behind the vehicles, took cover and called in additional officers. When the shooting stopped, Winterscheidt moved to his squad to recover a ballistic vest from the trunk to provide an extra layer of protection for a citizen. The award was one of four honors Winterscheidt received Friday. He was honored with a fitness award and two meritorious conduct awards for his part in gathering evidence that took a suspected serial rapist off the streets and efforts to keep a suicidal man from endangering himself and bystanders in a city park.
Investigator Jeff Felton received a letter of commendation for investigative efforts that lead to Garcia’s conviction in connection with the July 4 shooting.
Officers Greg Swanson and Nicholas Eastman, and Detectives Bill Braman and Jack Curphy were also honored with the meritorious conduct award in connection with the rape cases, which included an unsolved Burnett County case from 2006.
Officer Timothy Monte was honored with the meritorious conduct award for his part in keeping the suicidal man from injuring himself. In another incident in which a man was threatening to jump off the Bong Bridge in August, Officer Joel Markon was also given a meritorious conduct award after he spent more than an hour talking to the man to convince him to climb over the rail from a precarious perch over the water.
Curphy also received a meritorious conduct award for his work, which led to the arrest of a suspect in the robbery of Schultz’s bar in October.
A rare drive-by shooting on North 18th Street also garnered the investigating officer a meritorious conduct award. Officer Chris Moe, a patrol officer, stayed on the investigation that would normally be turned over to the detective bureau. Moe’s work led to an arrest warrant, after which the suspect turned himself in to police.
An April incident turned violent when a man stabbed three people in Catlin Courts. As the suspect crossed Catlin Avenue, K-9 Officer Todd Maas spotted the suspect and ordered him to the ground. When the suspect continued to advance toward him, Maas released his canine partner, Blek, ending the incident with an arrest. Maas and Blek garnered a meritorious conduct award for the incident and their assistance in a Duluth drug case.
Heroism was also recognized Friday. After a man broke through the ice on the St. Louis River last year, Officer Brad Esler and Sgt. Chris Kirchoff dove under the ice to recover the man who had drown, and days later, the man’s dog.
Police Chief Floyd Peters said the officers used the second dive as training in order to honor the wishes of the man’s family after the tragic event.
The extraordinary and ordinary didn’t go unnoticed either. Investigator Jeffrey Harriman, named Wisconsin’s Narcotics Officer of the Year, received a meritorious conduct award for his consistent high standards.
Officer Bonnie Johnson, whose efforts to work with the hospitality industry to prevent crime was also recognized. Her efforts to train hotel managers paid off in July when the manager of Barker’s Island Inn called her about suspicious activity. On her day off, Johnson responded, resulting in the arrest of someone wanted on drug charges in Carlton County, Minn. Johnson received a letter of commendation for her effort.
Other officers who received the fitness award included Harriman, Johnson, Felton, Kirchoff, Todd Carlson, John Heinen and Mike Kendall.
However, civilians were also recognized for their contributions to the department. Dan Shea of the city’s information services department, and Sgt. Susan Grandahl, a volunteer with the police auxiliary were given letters of commendation for their efforts.