SPD hands out awards for distinguished service, lifesaving, fitness for 2018 calls

The Superior Police Department provided a list of incidents that officers recieved awards for during the Superior Police Department's Officer Recognition Ceremony Feb. 28, 2019.

The Superior Police Department provided a list of incidents that officers recieved awards for during the Superior Police Department's Officer Recognition Ceremony Feb. 28, 2019.

Fitness award

Members of the department are encouraged to participate in a semiannual fitness test. The components of the test include push-ups, sit-ups and cardiovascular endurance determined by a 1.5 or 2 mile run. The bench-press and a 300 meter sprint are required if an officer wants to compete at the award level. The officers who completed the fitness test at the award level in 2018 are Chief Nick Alexander, Griffith Coffman, Brian Davis, Adam Johnson and Taavi Mattson.

Commemorative pin

On Thursday, April 26, at 10 a.m., a fluid catalytic cracking unit at the Husky Oil Refinery exploded. Debris from the explosion flew about 200 feet, creating a hole in an aboveground storage tank and spilling about 15,000 barrels of asphalt. Two hours after the initial explosion, the spilled asphalt ignited causing a large fire. A large part of the city was evacuated, including all the city’s schools.


Many local law enforcement agencies responded to assist the police department with the evacuation efforts. In addition to the local agencies, the police department called in many of our own off-duty officers and auxiliary unit members to assist. The timeline for the evacuation was unknown at the time officers were first called in. By 6 a.m. the next morning the evacuation had been officially lifted. To commemorate this day in our department history, a pin similar to our award pins will be designed with the date 4-26-18 on it to be awarded to each department member, officers, civilians and auxiliary members who were on duty or responded to assist.

Letters of commendation

  1. Sergeant Paul Winterscheidt, Officers Matt Brown, Lucas Ciciora, Ron Custer, Patrick Deignan, Nick Eastman, Austin Johnson, Brad Jago, Mikayla LeRette and Jon Marchiori for their investigation of a man wanted by the Department of Corrections who was trying to sell a laptop on Facebook, luring him in with an offer to buy the laptop then arresting him.
  2. Detective Greg Swanson for his investigation and extensive follow-up of a robbery and stabbing.  
  3. Officer Marc Letendre for his investigation of an 8-month-old child who was incapacitated by drugs, likely as a result of one parent having drugs in the house.
  4. Officer Russ Milroy for his investigation of the theft of a bank bag containing $15,000 in cash and checks, locating a suspect and evidence that led to a confession, arrest and return of over $9000 cash that had been in the bag.
  5. Officers Matt Brown, Justin McIntosh, Jeff Harriman and K9 Lacka for proactive traffic enforcement that led to the seizure of 107 grams of methamphetamines and $6,000.
  6. Officers Matt Brown, Peter Erickson, Marc Letendre, Justin McIntosh, Jeff Harriman and K9 Lacka for proactive policing that led to the discovery of a stolen car from Minneapolis, a stolen firearm from Houston, Texas, along with two other weapons, drugs and drug paraphernalia.
  7. Sergeant Paul Winterscheidt, Officers Patrick Deignan, Brad Jago, Charlie Mahlen and Jon Marchiori for their investigation of an Attempt to Locate from Ashland County leading to the arrest of two homicide suspects who were found in a trailer at Homecroft Court.
  8. Sergeant Adam Poskozim, Officers Paul Bourque, Matt Brown, Todd Carlson, Nick Eastman and Brad Esler for their initial response and investigation of a stabbing and kidnapping.  
  9. Officer Griffith Coffman for his proactive policing which led to the arrest of two people and the seizure of 1.2 pounds of hashish, 37 pounds of marijuana and $1,000.

SPD Lifesaving Award

Officers Griffith Coffman and Ronald Custer

May 25, 2018, was Officer Custer’s first day on the street as a new officer in field training with Officer Coffman assigned as a Field Training Officer. The officers responded to 1217 Tower Ave. for a report of an unconscious man who was not breathing. When they arrived, a civilian was performing chest compressions on the 69-year-old man. Officer Coffman opened the man’s airway and stabilized his neck before switching places with the civilian who started to deliver rescue breaths. Officer Coffman had Officer Custer take over chest compressions. Another officer arrived and retrieved a pocket mask for the civilian to use.The Superior Fire Department arrived a short time later and continued with compressions and medical care. Gold Cross Ambulance arrived and continued medical care with the fire department delivering shocks from the AED.

They later learned from Gold Cross paramedics that the man was alive and alert at the hospital. Their actions of conducting CPR helped save a man’s life.

Officer Patrick Deignan, Officer Brad Jago and Deputy Matt Izzard

On February 4, 2018, at 1:03 a.m. Officer Deignan and Officer Jago were dispatched to an address in South Superior to check the welfare of a 39-year old woman. It was reported by a family member that the woman was making suicidal statements and was supposed to be in the garage at this address with her car running trying to poison herself with carbon monoxide.  Officer Deignan arrived almost immediately but couldn’t confirm if the vehicle was running or not. Officer Jago and Deputy Izzard arrived and met with Officer Deignan and several family members. As Officer Jago and Deputy Izzard walked around the building, they believed they could hear a vehicle running inside the building. Family members confirmed how they knew the woman would be there. With this information, the officers decided to force entry to the garage.  Deputy Izzard and Officer Jago used pry bars to force entry through the service door but were unsuccessful. Officer Deignan was successful in removing plywood covering a broken window. He and Deputy Izzard made entry to the garage and unlocked the overhead door. Officer Jago lifted the door from the outside. The woman was inside a running vehicle with the window down. Deputy Izzard escorted her out of the building to Officer Jago and Gold Cross paramedics. The woman was stable enough for Officer Jago to transport her to St. Luke’s. Their actions of forcing entry to a carbon monoxide filled garage helped save a woman’s life.


Officer Matt Brown, Officer Robert Eastman and Dispatcher Kaitlyn Cadigan

On September 18, 2018, at 8:26 p.m. Officer Robert Eastman and Officer Matt Brown were dispatched to a house in the campus area for a report of an unresponsive 55-year-old female. Dispatcher Kaitlyn Cadigan was dispatching the call. The house did not have address numbers on it and it was necessary to gather information to give to the officers in order for them to have a quick response to the correct house. The officers arrived within 5 minutes and were the first emergency personnel on scene. The woman was unresponsive, had no pulse and was not breathing. The woman’s mother said she last talked to her approximately one hour earlier. Officer Brown immediately began CPR. Officer Eastman prepared and attached a portable AED to the woman. Officer Brown and Officer Eastman continued lifesaving efforts for approximately six minutes before EMS arrived. When EMS arrived they moved the woman out of her room and were able to obtain a regular heartbeat. Gold Cross ambulance transported her to St. Luke's Hospital. Sergeant McKinnon wrote in a Documentation of Performance letter that dispatcher Cadigan was complimented by the woman’s mother. Cadigan’s actions of calming the woman’s mother and directing the officers to the proper house made a difference in the speed in which the officers arrived. Officer Brown and Officer Eastman’s actions of performing CPR prior to the arrival of EMS helped save the woman’s life.  

Officer Marc Letendre

On Friday, April 20, 2018, at 7:45 a.m. Officer Letendre responded to the Bridgeview Hotel for a report of a possible overdose. Hotel staff directed him to a room where he encountered a male and a female. The man was on his back on the bathroom floor. He was blue and not breathing.  Officer Letendre retrieved a pocket mask and began rescue breathing for the man. The woman told Officer Letendre she found the man "purple and not breathing" with a hypodermic needle in the inside elbow area of his arm.

Officer Letendre administered one dose of Narcan then continued rescue breathing and checked for a pulse. He did not find a carotid pulse. About this time the fire department arrived on scene and an AED was attached. Officer Letendre confirmed there was no pulse and CPR was initiated. Other officers arrived and located methamphetamine and several pills.

After two minutes of CPR, Officer Letendre assisted administering another dose of Narcan. In the next several minutes, the man regained circulation, respiration and orientation. The man initially refused to go to the hospital but eventually agreed. Officer Letendre rode in the ambulance to St. Mary's in Duluth and provided a full report to the medical staff. Officer Letendre’s actions of providing CPR and administering Narcan saved this man’s life.

Officer Matt Brown and Officer Austin Johnson

On December 9, 2018, at 11:12 p.m. they and other officers responded to an address on Hughitt Ave. in reference to an unresponsive male who was not breathing. When they arrived they were told the unresponsive man had been using heroin. The officers were led to an upstairs bedroom and found the man on his back on the floor. The man gasped for air and the skin on his stomach was starting to turn blue. The person who called 911 said she had attempted to deliver a dose of Narcan, but she didn't think she got the full amount into him.


Officer Brown immediately delivered one dose of Narcan. Officer Johnson had prepared his pocket mask and began giving rescue breaths. After approximately 2 minutes of no change to the man’s consciousness status, Officer Brown delivered a second dose of Narcan. Officer Johnson continued to give rescue breaths and was able to deliver several breaths that caused the man's chest to rise. The Fire Department and Gold Cross arrived. Before they started to assist the man he suddenly woke up, sat up, and started breathing again. The man was transported by Gold Cross Ambulance to St. Mary’s-Superior. The officers’ actions of providing rescue breaths and administering Narcan saved this man’s life.

Officer Brad Jago and Officer Jon Marchiori

On November 29, 2018, at 6:38 p.m. the officers responded to 1912 John Ave. for a possible heroin overdose. When they arrived they found a 32-year-old man lying on his back on a bed.   An orange syringe cap was on the bed next to him. He was unresponsive; his eyes appeared partially open and white. The man did not appear to breathing and he was extremely pale.

Officer Jago immediately administered one dose of Narcan. Officer Marchiori began to deliver rescue breaths. After approximately 90 seconds of no results, Marchiori delivered a second dose of Narcan. Marchiori gave several more rescue breaths and the man began to breathe, however his breathing was labored. The Fire Department and Gold Cross arrived. The man became alert and was eventually walked outside to the ambulance. Gold Cross transported him to St. Mary’s-Duluth. The officers’ actions of providing rescue breaths and administering Narcan saved the man’s life.

Officer Lucas Ciciora

On December 22, 2018 at 11:19 p.m. Officer Ciciora and other officers responded to 1406 Birch Ave. in reference to a potential opiate overdose. They found a 26-year-old man lying on his back apparently unconscious and not breathing. Ciciora checked for a pulse while another officer prepared to administer Narcan. Once the pulse was confirmed one dose of Narcan was administered and Ciciora began providing rescue breaths. The first dose of Narcan did not revive the man or improve his breathing. After a second dose of Narcan was delivered, Ciciora continued giving rescue breaths. Shortly before Gold Cross and the fire department arrived on scene, the man began to show signs of breathing on his own. The officer’s actions of providing rescue breaths to this man saved his life.  

Lifesaving Award and Distinguished Service Award

Officer Chris Woolery, Officer George Gothner, Officer Mike Kendall, Sergeant Paul Winterscheidt, Officer Marc Letendre and Officer Brad Esler

On Oct. 5, 2018 at 11:06 a.m., Officer Woolery made contact with a 19-year-old man in the 300 block of Ninth Ave. E. regarding a shoplifting complaint. The man was uncooperative from the beginning of the contact. He refused to remove his left hand from his jacket pocket and he told Woolery that he had a gun. Officer Woolery took a position of cover, used strong control commands and alerted other officers to what the man was doing and saying.  

Officer Kendall and Officer Gothner arrived and took up positions of cover as the man continued to be uncooperative, telling the officers he had a gun and that he would shoot them. The man refused to take his hand out of his pocket. Kendall, a trained crisis negotiator, established some dialogue with the man until he tossed the beer can he was holding and made an overt move as if he was pulling a gun from the front of his waist. The man’s words and actions led the officers to believe he had a gun and was now accessing it in order to shoot at them. All three officers believed in that moment that the threshold had been met to justify the use of deadly force. All three officers fired their handguns at the man, striking him six times and knocking him to the ground.    

When it was safe to approach, officers Esler and Woolery moved toward the man. Sergeant Winterscheidt and Officer Letendre, who both have paramedic-level training, arrived moments later. The man had injuries to his head, chest, one arm and both legs. The immediate care conducted by these officers included direct pressure to wounds, a tourniquet and occlusive dressings to manage blood loss.  

When the man was moved into an ambulance, Letendre and Winterscheidt provided assistance to the paramedics by further assessing the injuries, assisting with intubation and applying another tourniquet. Letendre rode with in the ambulance during transport and continued to assist while en route to the hospital. The man’s injuries, though life threatening, were not ultimately fatal due to the officers’ rapid response, assessment and ability to put training into action.  

Sergeant Winterscheidt, Officer Letendre and Officer Esler are awarded the Superior Police Department Lifesaving Award. Officer Woolery, Officer Gothner and Officer Kendall received the Superior Police Department Distinguished Service Award for their actions of exceptional conduct involving courage, risk and danger to your personal safety during this incident.

Medal of Valor Award and Distinguished Service Award

Sergeant Adam Poskozim, Officer Chris Woolery, Officer Brad Esler, Officer Mikayla LeRette, Officer Joel Markon

On August 27, 2018, at 1 p.m., officers were called to check the welfare of the 29-year-old man at a bus stop on Tower Avenue. It was reported the man was distraught, crying and talking about people dying. The man was initially not located, but shortly after the Communications Center reported a man walking up the Blatnik Bridge.  

These officers responded to the Blatnik Bridge and the man was located walking toward Duluth in the Superior-bound lanes of traffic. Traffic was stopped on those lanes and officers were able to form a perimeter as the man walked along the outer shoulder of the bridge next to the concrete side rail.

At one point the man jumped on top the bridge rail. A fall from the bridge at that height would most likely kill the man. The man shuffled along the top of the bridge rail and fell backward onto the bridge deck. He ran along the shoulder to a position almost right in front of Officer Woolery.  The man jumped on top the bridge rain and flung himself over the side.

With a Taser in his right hand, Officer Woolery grabbed the back of the man’s shirt with his left hand as he went over the side. The man’s shirt slipped out of Officer Woolery’s hand. As the man went over the rail, he grabbed onto the top of the rail.  Officer Woolery planted his knees against the side rail and reached over to grab the man’s clothing. The other officers rushed in and helped grab onto the man’s arms and clothing.

The man hooked his feet in part of the bridge framework and wouldn’t allow the officers to easily pull him back onto the bridge deck. After one minute and 20 seconds of straining, pulling and urging the man to cooperate, the officers were able to pull the man over the rail, onto the bridge and safely take him into custody.

Sergeant Poskozim, Officer Esler, Officer LeRette and Officer Markon received the Superior Police Department Distinguished Service Award. Their actions of grabbing onto the man and struggling to pull him back to safety as he struggled against you were courageous and heroic while posing a risk to your own personal safety.  

Officer Woolery’s actions of reaching for the man as he flung himself over the side of the bridge showed bravery at a risk to his own life. Reaching over the rail to get a better grip on the man’s clothing as he struggled was heroic. He received the Superior Police Department Medal of Valor.












What To Read Next