Thursday, December 16, 2010

Officers, dispatchers, recognized for helping elderly robbery victim

Three police officers and two of our dispatchers received Certificates of Commendation today for going above and beyond to help a woman who was the victim of a nasty robbery. They caught the suspects, but they did much more than that. You can read their story below. Above are the officers and Mrs. Christianson, the woman they helped, who made sure to come to Headquarters today to see her "angels" receive their awards.

What started as a robbery call turned into something much more for a group of caring officers and dispatchers.

On August 4, 2010, an elderly woman recovering from hip surgery was pushed to the ground, sprayed with pepper spray and robbed. Officers Brad Rains and William Pritchett were the first to arrive. They summoned an ambulance and asked the woman if she knew who had attacked her. She knew one girl’s first name, and because of their knowledge of the neighborhood, the officers had a good idea of who one of the suspects was. They found her and arrested her and her accomplice. Officer Rita Olson-Stawicki came to stay with and gather more information from the victim.

But when they were at the elderly victim’s house, they noticed how very hot it was. She told them her air conditioner hadn’t worked in years. Excessive heat warnings were in place, and the officers feared for the woman’s safety. They called dispatch to see if dispatchers could connect them to any resources. Dispatchers Sarah Gartman and Chrystal Hampton were happy to help. They contacted several agencies who were willing to temporarily relocate the elderly woman to a cooling center for the night, but the officers and dispatchers wanted a permanent solution. The dispatchers then began calling stores in search of window air conditioning units, but many were sold out because of the heat. They continued their regular dispatch duties while searching for an air conditioner.

Dispatchers Gartman and Hampton finally found a store with an air conditioner, and they and the officers pooled their own money together to buy it. The officers then took the air conditioner to the elderly woman’s house, installed it, and then showed her how to use it.

In a letter to the officers, the woman wrote, “You are all my designated angels, and I am eternally gateful.”

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