Gov. Scott Walker presents awards to 21 State Patrol Troopers
MADISON (WITI) — Governor Scott Walker presented special awards to 21 members of the Wisconsin State Patrol for saving lives and other exemplary service on Wednesday, October 2, at the State Capitol in Madison.
State Patrol Superintendent Stephen Fitzgerald said, “All members of the State Patrol make our highways and communities safer through their professional and tireless dedication to traffic and public safety. But the members of the State Patrol who received special awards have demonstrated exceptional expertise and courage under extremely stressful conditions. They were nominated for their awards by their fellow members of the State Patrol for actions that go above and beyond their normal duties.”
The following members of the State Patrol were honored with special awards:
Trooper Steven R. Lindemann of Oconomowoc (Medal of Valor Award)—Trooper Steven Lindemann responded to a chaotic scene where a man was firing a gun inside the Azana Spa in Brookfield on October 21, 2012. In the immediate response to the mass shooting, Trooper Lindemann was instrumental in rescuing seriously injured victims. In preparation for the deployment of a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team, Trooper Lindemann was positioned near the main entrance to the spa. After being relieved from that position, he helped safely escort uninjured individuals to their awaiting family members and friends. Three victims were killed and four others were treated for gunshot wounds. A total of 19 people were rescued and evacuated from the spa.
Despite imminent threats to his personal safety, Trooper Lindemann acted with extraordinary heroism and true professionalism during this extremely dangerous tragedy. For his decisive actions, Trooper Lindemann of the Southeast Region—Waukesha Post was awarded the Medal of Valor, which is the highest award presented by the State Patrol.
Trooper Edward P. Witkiewicz of Sun Prairie (Meritorious Service Award and Lifesaving Award)—Trooper Edward Witkiewicz was patrolling on the interstate in Jefferson County on August 30, 2012, when he was informed that people were trapped inside a collapsed building, which was under construction, in Johnson Creek. Arriving at the scene, he observed that most of the roof trusses had collapsed and a wall of the building was in danger of falling. Workers who had escaped unharmed reported that others were still inside the building. Along with a local police department officer, Trooper Witkiewicz entered the building. He found a victim with a severe head injury, who was slipping in and out of consciousness. He stabilized the victim’s head and neck. Local firefighters arrived and stabilized the wall. Trooper Witkiewicz cleared a path through the damaged beams and trusses so the firefighters could safely transport the victim. Trooper Witkiewicz displayed great courage in remaining with an injured victim while the building was in jeopardy of collapsing. For his effective and brave actions, Trooper Witkiewicz of the Southwest Region—DeForest Post received the Meritorious Service Award.
In addition, Trooper Witkiewicz received a Lifesaving Award for rescuing occupants of a burning vehicle. While off-duty and driving home from a trip on November 4, 2012, Trooper Witkiewicz noticed a column of smoke ahead on the interstate between Mauston and New Lisbon. As he neared the scene, he saw an overturned vehicle in the median with several people attempting to extinguish a fire. Trooper Witkiewicz stopped to assist and was informed that the vehicle occupants were trapped inside. Attempts to control the fire were unsuccessful, which caused the vehicle’s roof to collapse and pin the doors in a closed position. To remove the two occupants, Trooper Witkiewicz used his fire extinguisher to break the side windows. He then crawled inside the vehicle and rescued the two occupants. For putting his own safety at great risk to prevent serious or fatal injuries to the vehicle occupants, Trooper Witkiewicz received a Lifesaving Award. This is his second State Patrol Lifesaving Award.
Trooper Witkiewicz recently resigned from the State Patrol to become a member of the Verona Police Department.
Troopers Trent P. Betley of Hudson and Robert W. Unruh of Glenwood City(Meritorious Service Awards)—Trooper Trent Betley and Trooper Robert Unruh responded to a call of a suicidal subject at a rural area in St. Croix County on September 22, 2012. A female reported that her husband had come home intoxicated and ordered her and their two teenage children out of the home. The husband was armed and had fired a shot in the air. Troopers Unruh and Betley met four St. Croix County sheriff’s deputies at the end of the home’s driveway. As the officers approached the residence on foot, Trooper Betley was on point with night vision goggles to monitor and provide a clearer view of the residence. Trooper Unruh was the guide officer in the stack formation. Trooper Betley observed the male subject sitting on the porch steps with a rifle. The officers could hear the rifle being loaded. The officers retreated to their cruisers to take up secure positions. Shortly thereafter, the subject walked down the driveway armed with the rifle. Trooper Betley ordered the subject to “drop the weapon” several times. The subject aimed the rifle at the officers and fired multiple shots. The officers returned fire, which fatally injured the subject. Troopers Betley and Unruh performed professionally and made every effort to keep the public safe while they faced grave dangers. For their courageous actions, Trooper Betley and Trooper Unruh of the Northwest Region—Eau Claire Post each received the Meritorious Service Award.
Trooper Thomas J. Aures of Kronenwetter (Lifesaving Award)—Trooper Thomas Aures responded to a motorcycle crash in the town of Reid in Marathon County on September 23, 2012. The operator had been thrown off the motorcycle. Trooper Aures found the motorcyclist, who was unconscious and gasping for breath. The motorcyclist was seated in a position that obstructed his airway. With help from a passing motorist, Trooper Aures rendered medical aid and assessed the victim’s chest, abdomen and extremities. Eventually, the victim regained consciousness and his skin color returned to normal. Trooper Aures continue to supply oxygen to the victim until he was transported by helicopter to a hospital. After paramedics arrived, Trooper Aures consoled a 7-year-old child who had witnessed the emergency incident. He spoke to him calmly and gave him a package of baseball cards to comfort him. For his professional and compassionate efforts, Trooper Thomas Aures of the North Central Region—Wausau Post received a Lifesaving Award.
Sergeant Eric S. Beine of Janesville (Lifesaving Award)—Sergeant Eric Beine received information regarding an individual who had no pulse and was not breathing at a Wal-Mart in Beloit on November 10, 2012. Upon arriving at the scene, Sergeant Beine found the subject was unresponsive and turning blue. A pediatrician who was at the store had started chest compressions. Sergeant Beine assisted by providing rescue breaths and monitoring the subject’s condition. A short time later, he detected a faint pulse. The pediatrician continued chest compressions while Sergeant Beine administered rescue breaths. Beloit emergency medical responders arrived and administered Narcam because the individual was diagnosed as experiencing a drug overdose. Sergeant Beine continued life-saving measures until the individual started breathing on his own and regained consciousness. For his decisive actions and effective leadership in a life-threatening situation, Sergeant Beine of the Southwest Region—DeForest Post received the Lifesaving Award. Sergeant Beine also received a State Patrol Lifesaving Award in 2011.
Trooper Jeremy T. McNulty of Black River Falls and Trooper Kyle A. DeVries of Elk Mound (Lifesaving Awards)—While on patrol, Trooper Jeremy McNulty received a report that an individual in a vehicle on the interstate in Jackson County was suffering possible cardiac arrest on December 28, 2012. Trooper McNulty was the first to arrive on-scene where he found a woman performing cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on her husband. He immediately assisted. Trooper Kyle DeVries also had monitored the radio call. When Trooper Kyle DeVries arrived on the scene, the two troopers continued CPR and altered positions for compressions, breathing and monitoring. Soon after, a sheriff’s deputy arrived carrying an automatic external defibrillator (AED), which was used on the victim. The two troopers relayed patient information to responding paramedics and assisted in loading the victim into an ambulance. The victim eventually had open heart surgery at the hospital. For their decisive actions that helped save a man’s life, Troopers McNulty and DeVries of the Northwest Region—Eau Claire Post each received the Lifesaving Award. This is Trooper McNulty’s second Lifesaving Award.
Trooper Anthony C. Martin of Kenosha (Lifesaving Award)—Trooper Anthony Martin received a report of a pedestrian walking on the interstate in Kenosha County on June 7, 2013. While responding to the scene, he received another report that the pedestrian had been struck by a vehicle. At the scene, Trooper Martin found the victim seriously injured and unconscious on the pavement. A motorist was performing CPR. Kenosha County Sheriff’s Deputy Jacob Castillo arrived and assisted with CPR. Trooper Martin checked for a pulse but there was none. He then checked the victim’s mouth for any obstructions and began chest compressions while waiting for emergency medical responders to arrive. Deputy Castillo continued CPR until emergency medical services arrived. Trooper Martin advised other officers who responded to the scene and also consoled the driver of the striking vehicle. The female victim was transported by med-flight to a hospital where she was kept alive by a ventilator. A few days later, her family allowed doctors to remove the ventilator, and she died from her injuries. Trooper Martin of the Southeast Region-Waukesha Post demonstrated great compassion and commitment during this tragic incident. For his actions, he received a Lifesaving Award.
Deputy Jacob Castillo of the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Office also received a State Patrol Lifesaving Award for his actions during this emergency response.
Trooper Adam J. Niemuth of New Berlin (Lifesaving Award)—Trooper Adam Niemuth monitored an ambulance call for a 1-year-old child who was not breathing on March 20, 2013. When he arrived at the scene on Moorland Road in Milwaukee, he saw the mother walking towards him while carrying the baby. The child was limp and was turning blue. Trooper Niemuth reacted quickly by placing the child in a reclined position. He tilted the child’s head back to open the airway. The child then began breathing and appeared alert. Trooper Niemuth checked the baby’s condition until emergency medical services arrived. By taking control at the scene and using his training to restore the baby’s breathing, Trooper Niemuth prevented possible brain damage or death. For his actions, Trooper Niemuth of the Southeast Region—Waukesha Post received a Lifesaving Award.
Trooper Kristian P. Perales of West Bend (Lifesaving Award)—While off-duty, Trooper Kristian Perales was at a restaurant in West Bend with his family on April 20, 2013, when his wife pointed out a woman who appeared to be choking. The victim was grabbing at her throat and beginning to turn blue. The victim’s granddaughter was trying to perform the Heimlich maneuver without success. Trooper Perales identified himself as a police officer and rendered aid by administering the Heimlich maneuver. A piece of food dislodged from the victim’s mouth, and she resumed breathing. Trooper Perales advised that the victim be examined by a doctor because of the amount of pressure he applied to her rib cage. For his professional response to a medical emergency and effective actions, Trooper Perales of the Southeast Region—Waukesha Post received the Lifesaving Award. This is the fourth Lifesaving Award in his State Patrol career.
Captain Tim Carnahan of Wauwatosa, Captain Jeffrey Frenette of Eau Claire, Captain Charles Teasdale of Waunakee, Lieutenant Anthony Burrell of Milwaukee, Lieutenant Tim Huibregtse of Grafton, Lieutenant Paul Matl of Onalaska, Lieutenant Jack McMahon of DeForest, Lieutenant Gerald Voight of Eau Claire, and Sergeant Daniel Steele of West Salem (Commendable Service Awards)—After two years of planning and preparation, the State Patrol provided security and VIP transportation for the National Governors’ Association (NGA) meeting in Milwaukee from August 1 to 4, 2013. Captain Tim Carnahan of the Southeast Region served as incident commander, and Captain Jeffrey Frenette of the Northwest Region served as the deputy incident commander. Serving in key command and staff positions were Captain Charles Teasdale of the Southwest Region, Lieutenants Anthony Burrell of the Northeast Region, Timothy Huibregtse of the Bureau of Public Safety and Communications, Paul Matl, of the Southwest Region, Jack McMahon of the Dignitary Protection Unit, and Gerald Voight of the State Patrol Academy along with Sergeant Daniel Steele of the Southwest Region. The security planning and execution for the event required an array of details that were identified, assessed, coordinated and managed effectively. The NGA event was successful and safe. For their outstanding leadership, the State Patrol officers each received a Commendable Service Award.
Program Assistant (Advanced) Beverly A. Simonds of Baraboo (Commendable Service Award)—Beverly Simonds provides outstanding support to the Motor Carrier Enforcement Investigation Unit. She is highly motivated and self-directed. Her efforts have been instrumental in numerous program improvements and significant cost savings through greater operational efficiency. For her exemplary service to the State Patrol mission, she received the Commendable Service Award.