DODGE CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – An Andover police officer who saved the life of a minutes-old premature baby, Hutchinson officers who saved a Westar Energy worker stranded in a bucket above his burning truck next to high-voltage power lines, and Wichita police who pulled two people from a car sinking are just a few of the area law enforcement officers who will be honored at the 37th annual awards banquet of the Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police in Dodge City.
Each year, KACP recognizes officers, deputies and troopers whose heroism, quick-thinking, professionalism and heroism go well beyond their normal law enforcement duties in service to their communities.
Below are a few of the 48 law enforcement professionals from across Kansas to be honored this week.
Couple saved from drowning in icy pond
On January 3rd, 2015 at around 2:30 a.m. a man and a woman were headed home from a party at an east Wichita club. The woman initially had been driving her Volkswagen Jetta, but soon pulled over and turned the car over to the man who insisted on driving the rest of the way to their destination.
A short time later, a call came in to 911 dispatchers that a car had driven into a pond. WPD officers Brek Train, Aaron Moses, Zach Gehring and Dane Myers responded to the call. When they arrived on scene what they saw was a car upside down about 15 feet from the shoreline.
The caller, who also was on the scene, said as far as he knew no one had gotten out of the car which had begun to sink.
When all four officers were on the scene, they jumped into the frozen pond and swam toward the car. They found two people in the car’s back seat. The front part of the car’s cabin was already under water.
As Train and Myers forced open the driver’s door they could hear the two people calling for help. At that point, Train pulled the man from the vehicle while Moses swam him to shore. Train then pulled the woman out of the sinking car, and Myers and Gehring pulled her to shore.
Both of the victims in the car were examined and treated for exposure and hypothermia.
There is no question that, had these four officers not worked as a courageous team, the two victims of that crash would most likely have perished beneath the two-inch-thick ice of that dark pond.
For their courage and heroism above and beyond the call of duty, the Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police will honor Wichita Police Officers Brek Train, Aaron Moses, Zachary Gehring and Dane Myers with the KACP Gold Award.
Westar Energy worker saved from electrocution, fiery death
In the early morning hours of October 23rd, 2015 the Hutchinson Fire Dept. was dispatched to a call about a sparking power pole. When they arrived on the scene, they called Westar Energy to deal with the power lines, then packed up and returned to service.
Around 2 a.m., a neighbor called 911 to report the Westar Truck was on fire and there was liquid leaking from beneath it. The caller suspected the liquid might be fuel, and said someone may be in the truck’s bucket high above the ground.
Hutchinson Police officers Grant Ingram and Adam Weishaar were in the area and responded to see if they could help. When they arrived, they discovered the truck fully involved in fire and the Westar worker in the bucket stuck above high-voltage power lines.
As they approached the truck they saw it was leaking gasoline. To make matters worse, the Westar employee told them he believed the truck was “charged,” meaning if Ingram or Weishaar came into contact with the vehicle, they would be electrocuted.
They saw that the fire was starting to climb the boom toward the worker in the bucket. Acting quickly, they grabbed fire extinguishers from their patrol units to try to fight the fire.
That’s when they started hearing small explosions coming from the truck.
Had the Westar employee tried to get out of the bucket, he most likely would have been electrocuted. If he stayed in the bucket, he probably would have been burned alive. To make matters worse, there was a risk of the boom falling on the power lines, bringing them down and electrocuting Ingram and Weishaar.
Officer Bobby Jarmer and Reno County Sheriff’s Deputy David Radke also arrived on the scene and were valiantly trying to put out the fire themselves.
Jarmer and Ingram moved closer to the burning truck and used their fire extinguishers to keep the blaze from moving up the boom to the bucket.
While struggling with the fire, good Samaritans were approaching the truck to try to help, meaning the four officers had to also deal with crowd control.
In the end, the fire was controlled and the Westar employee was able to safely make it to the ground. No one was injured in the incident.
As a result of their courageous actions and quick-thinking, the Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police will honor Officers Adam Weishaar, Grant Ingram, Bobby Jarmer, and Dep. David Radke with its Bronze Award for their outstanding achievement above and beyond their normal law enforcement duties.
Officer brings newborn back to life
On Sept. 7th, 2015 Andover Police Sgt. Troy Snedeker was on his way to take a theft report when he heard firefighters being dispatched to an obstetrics emergency call where a 31-year-old woman had given birth to a baby that was not breathing.
Racing to the scene, Sgt. Snedeker arrived to find that the woman had given premature birth to the baby at only 29 weeks into her pregnancy.
The 1 pound, 14 ounce baby girl was bluish-gray in color and lying face down on a couch, still attached to the placenta. Snedeker did not hesitate to begin emergency actions.
Snedeker knelt down on the floor and adjusted the little girl’s head so that her mouth and nose were clear of the couch cushion. He then put his hand on her back and his face next to her mouth and found that she was not breathing.
He then began to vigorously massage her back. When that didn’t work, Snedeker used two fingers to begin baby chest compressions while massaging the little girl’s back.
Suddenly, the newborn clinched her eyes and mouth and made a whimpering sound. Snedeker continued to massage the baby’s back, got another cry, and continued his life-saving measures until EMS crews arrived and took over.
Andover Fire and Rescue Captain Joe King later said the girl would not have survived without Snedeker’s life-saving work.
A little over two months later, Snedeker and his department learned that the girl had made an incredible recovery and was due to be released from the hospital within the next week or two.
For his extraordinary action that saved the life of another, the Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police on Wednesday will honor Sgt. Troy Snedeker of the Andover Police Dept. with the KACP Silver Award.
Deputies show compassion while facing an angry crowd
Two Sedgwick County Sheriff’s deputies will be honored for their quick thinking and bravery for not only saving the life of a 7-year-old boy, but also the life of another person who many at the scene of a terrible accident mistakenly blamed for the child’s injuries.
On September 26th, 2015, Deputies Justin Maxfield and David Mlagan were working a part-time duty assignment at a Wichita park providing security for a Wichita Junior Football League game.
A 7-year-old boy was playing catch with other children when their football went into the street. The 7-year-old ran into traffic to get the ball and was struck by a semi tractor-trailer, causing severe damage to the his head.
As Maxfield was cradling the child’s broken skull, he and Mlagan were in the middle of an extremely chaotic situation with a crowd of adults becoming very angry and trying to get at the semi driver who they mistakenly thought was responsible for the child’s injuries.
Between trying to care for the critically injured child and save the semi driver from injury by the crowd, Maxfield and Mlagan were in the middle of a very dangerous situation. However, due to their courage and compassion, they managed to save the child’s life and protect the truck driver from the angry crowd.
For their bravery and helping save the lives of the child and the truck driver, the Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police will honor Deputies Justin Maxfield and Daniel Mlagan with the KACP Silver Award.
Dozens rescued from high-rise fire
On October 13th, 2015 Sgt. Michael Wambold, Cpl. Derek Botterweck, and officers Joshua Hulse, Gary Littlejohn and Jordan Garver of the Newton Police Dept. were dispatched to a high-rise fire at the Mid-Town Towers in Newton.
Dispatchers told officers the residents of the building were primarily elderly and disabled. When Garver arrived, he immediately raced up the stairs to the apartment where the fire was located.
Outside the apartment, he heard something heavy fall to the ground. Another resident told Garver that someone was inside the apartment.
The door was slightly ajar and when Garver pushed it further open, heavy black smoke and intense heat began pouring out the apartment.
Garver immediately dropped to the floor and tried to look inside the apartment. However, smoke and heat were too intense so he backed out and notified dispatch of the situation.
At the same time, residents were moving about the hallway and Garver quickly helped them to the stairways, then went door-to-door to evacuate the rest of those apartments.
Wambold, Botterweck, Hulse and Littlejohn had also arrived on the scene and were assisting with evacuating the building. Some residents had to be carried down 6 to 7 flights of stairs filled with intense smoke and heat. In addition, they helped carry equipment up the stairwells as firefighters continued to fight the blaze.
In the end, one resident lost his life in the fire and 103 residents were evacuated.
Needless to say, these five officers went well beyond their routine duties in helping save the residents from the high-rise apartment fire.
For their bravery and helping save the lives of others, the Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police Wednesday night will honor Sgt. Michael Wambold, Cpl. Derek Botterweck, and Officers Joshua Hulse, Gary Littlejohn and Jordan Garver of the Newton Police Dept. with the Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police Silver Award.
Officer saves suicidal man
On August 24th last year, Officer Kyle Perry with the Wichita Police Dept. was dispatched to a suicide call in south Wichita. After getting permission to run hot to the call, he was the first person to arrive on the scene where he raced through the house trying to locate the person in trouble.
Perry found a man in the garage hanging from a beam tied to an extension cord and struggling to breathe. Perry held the man up with one arm and used his other hand to reach up and cut the extension cord that was wrapped around the man’s neck.
After lowering the man and helping him recover, paramedics arrived and transported the man in serious condition to a nearby hospital. It was later learned the man had left a suicide note.
Wichita Police Sgt. Scott Moon, who nominated Off. Perry for the department’s life-saving award, said the victim was serious about ending his life. He had hung himself as high as possible in his home’s garage, double-knotted the extension cord around his neck, left a suicide note, locked the door and asked his family not to enter the garage. EMS and firefighters later said the victim had been about one minute from dying. If Off. Perry had not made a valiant attempt to save him, they believed the man would surely have died.
For his quick actions in saving the life of the man who tried to take his own life, the Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police will honor Wichita Police Officer Kyle Perry with the KACP Silver Award.
Detective helps catch suspect, solve AT&T store shooting
The incident that led to a Derby Police officer being honored began about 9:15 a.m. on August 11, 2015 when a call came out there had been a shooting at the AT&T store not far away.
As Officer Larry Hampton left the station, he heard a broadcast description of the suspect’s vehicle, and that someone inside the store had been shot.
Just a couple of blocks from the station, he spotted a vehicle matching the description of the one from the broadcast cut through a parking lot to avoid traffic at the next intersection. When he attempted to stop the vehicle, a pursuit began that hit speeds of up to 90 miles per hour.
The chase eventually ended up in Wichita where WPD officers put out spike strips. The suspect crashed into a parked WPD patrol car while trying to avoid the spike strips then jumped out of his car and fled on foot into a nearby field where WPD officers gave chase.
What made the suspect’s crime so terrible is that the woman he shot, a retired middle school counselor, would later lose both her hands and feet due to complications from her wounds.
Hampton’s work so commendable because of the dangerous nature of the suspect, Officer Hampton’s relentless pursuit of the man and the professional manner in which he treated an individual who had completely turned the life of an innocent victim upside down. The suspect later acknowledged his cooperation in the case was directly due to Off. Hampton’s professionalism.
For that professionalism and valor in the line of duty, the Kansas Association of chiefs of Police honors Off. Larry Hampton with the KACP Gold Award.
Officers rescue children who were hostages
It was a hostage rescue operation that was extremely dangerous. But, it was one that allowed three young children to live in spite of the best efforts of their captor.
The incident took place last June 23rd, 2015 shortly after midnight when Hutchinson Police Sgt. Kris Sims, and Officers Josh Long, Tim Williams, Ernie Underwood, Stephen Schaffer aand Jim Wilson were dispatched to an address where there was trouble with a call. The problem was this: A man inside a home had recently confessed to another man that he had committed a murder that was being investigated by the Reno County Sheriff’s Office.
When the first officers arrived on the scene they talked to the suspect through an open doorway and learned he was extremely agitated. To make things worse, he had three small children, ages 1, 3 and 6, in the house. The caller had told dispatchers the suspect had taken a knife from him. The man holding the children said he would be willing to shoot officers and that they would need to kill him.
Negotiations eventually convinced the man to let the two older children move into the front room. The smallest child was strapped into an infant carrier and left on the floor in the living room with the other kids.
Unfortunately, and probably because they were too terrified, the older children refused to leave the room and come outside to safety.
The decision was made to rescue the children and try to subdue the man inside.
Upon entry, the officers who went into the home were pelted by objects, including a large kitchen knife, thrown at them by the suspect who was in a position of cover. Nonetheless, they were able to rescue the three children. When the suspect refused commands to come out into the open and show his hands, then placed them in a manner that indicated he had a weapon, he began another aggressive attack. That’s when the officers were compelled to open fire, killing the suspect. A subsequent search revealed he was still in possession of two knives.
For their bravery by putting themselves at great risk to rescue the three children and remove a very dangerous person from the community, the Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police will honor Sgt. Kris Sims, and Officers Josh Long, Tim Williams, Ernie Underwood, Stephen Schaffer and Jim Wilson of the Hutchinson Police Department with the KACP Gold Award.
Officers chase, catch serial criminal
Two Wichita Police officers are being honored for helping solve a string of crimes and apprehend a very dangerous felon.
The suspect in this case had been identified by multiple law enforcement agencies for committing crimes ranging from aggravated residential robbery to aggravated robbery, larceny and auto theft. He was known to carry a weapon, use large amounts of cocaine, and was considered extremely dangerous.
To help find and arrest the suspect, Officers Bryan Knowles and Michael Russell of the Wichita Police Dept. volunteered to work overtime.
On March 10th, 2015 that work paid off when they saw a car matching the description of one reported stolen by the suspect. They tried to initiate a traffic stop but the suspect raced off with Knowles, Russell and others in pursuit.
During the chase, they saw a woman bail out of the suspect’s moving vehicle and watched as she was run over by the suspect. Other officers who saw that happen stopped and helped the woman who told them the suspect had a handgun in the car.
The pursuit finally wound its way to the parking lot of a Wichita hospital where Knowles and Russell were given permission to use their patrol car to hit the suspect’s vehicle and end the chase. When that happened, what turned out to be a replica firearm was thrown from beneath the driver’s seat into the rear of the car’s cabin. When the suspect tried to get out of his car, he was pinned down and placed under arrest with the assistance of Officer Jess Hancock and his K-9 partner.
With the arrest of the suspect, law enforcement agencies were able to clear a dozen major cases and lock the man up.
For their dedication to the community, valor and quick thinking, the Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police on Wednesday will present the KACP Gold Award to Wichita Police Officers Bryan Knowles and Michael Russell.
Deputy shows compassion following shooting of dangerous man
What started out as a call about a suspicious man quickly escalated to a very dangerous situation last fall.
On September 15th, 2015, Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Deputy Ben Romero volunteered to take a call concerning a suspicious character. Romero wasn’t dispatched to the call; he volunteered for it.
When Dep. Romero arrived on the scene he found a man walking towards him holding a rifle down by his side. Romero ordered the man to drop the rifle eleven times but the man refused to obey those commands. That prompted Romero, who had deployed his patrol carbine, to take cover behind his car.
When the suspect dropped to a kneeling position and took aim at him, Dep. Romero fired his rifle and the man went down. Dep. Romero then rushed to the man’s side, separated the man from his rifle, and began to administer first aid that likely saved the suspect’s life.
In nominating Dep. Romero for the KACP award, Sgt. Marty Moreland said Romero “distinguished himself through his heroic actions and compassion” and “handled a highly volatile and stressful situation not only with professionalism, but with empathy, which outlined his uncommon valor in the line of duty.”
For his bravery and his compassionate care of a man who by all rights had tried to kill him, the Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police will honor Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Deputy Ben Romero with the KACP Gold Award.