Co-STARS are awarded to outstanding teams of employees.
Pictured back row from left to right: Eugene Danielson (Fire), Rita Juran (Fire) and James Fjerstad (Fire). Pictured middle row from left to right: Nikolaus Curley (Fire), Troy Svenddal (Fire), Colm Black (Fire) and Todd White (Fire). Pictured front row from left to right: Robert Spande (911), Deanna Olson (911), Amanda Lens (911), Linda Rock (911) and Emilee Herman (911). Not pictured: John Gust (911), Kathy Lawler (911), Jena Scurry (911), Christopher Bishop (Police), Steven Fogarty (Police), Christopher Lokke (Police), Christopher Pickhardt (Police) and Richard Sheldon (Police).
911 Operations Manager Janelle Harris nominated the team for working together to save a man’s life:
“On Aug. 17, 2016, 911 received a call reporting that a man had climbed over a barricade on the 15th-floor patio of the Wells Fargo Building and was hanging onto the metal beams. He kept looking over the edge and appeared as if he was going to jump.
“911 Dispatcher Emilee Herman took the initial 911 call from a witness and quickly entered a call with the exact location and description of the man. Dispatchers John Gust and Jena Scurry also took 911 calls and gathered critical information from bystanders who were witnessing the event. 911 Dispatcher Linda Rock was in control of the radio traffic and immediately dispatched police officers to the scene, relaying important information to them on the way and during the entire incident. Relief Dispatcher Amanda Lens assisted by eventually taking over for all radio traffic not related to the incident. Fire dispatchers Bob Spande and Kathy Lawler immediately dispatched fire rigs to assist at the scene, constantly updating them with new information as it came in. Supervisor Deanna Olson was overseeing the incident for 911. She was responsible for getting negotiators quickly to the scene to help.
“Officer Christopher Bishop and Sgt. Steven Fogarty were the first police officers to arrive at the scene and began conversing with the man, who was sitting on a decorative beam extending 10-20 feet away from the building on the 15th floor. He was resting on his hands and knees on the support beam. During their conversation, they learned that he was contemplating suicide. Both officers kept talking with the man regarding common interests. Both officers demonstrated great empathy and built a rapport with the man. Officer Bishop was able to talk the man away from the edge and back to the wall, where he sat until he was rescued by Fire personnel.
“Sgt. Christopher Lokke was the on-duty supervisor and became the incident commander on scene. He arrived quickly and proceeded to gather information about the man from the Wells Fargo employees. He fed this information to the officers and coordinated the rescue effort. Sgt. Lokke requested the incident be separated from area radio traffic and that Fire respond with rappelling capability.
“Negotiators Sgt. Christopher Pickhardt and Sgt. Richard Sheldon also responded to the scene. Sgt. Pickhardt monitored and took over the conversation with the man. Sgt. Sheldon worked behind the scene, gathering information and clearing and securing the lower level in case the man decided to jump.
“Fire personnel played a vital role, responding to the scene and eventually rappelling down to the man from above and extracting him from the beam to safety. Firefighters on the main rescue rig were Capt. Colm Black, Fire Motor Operator James Fjerstad, and firefighters Nikolaus Curley, Eugene Danielson and Troy Svenddal. Battalion Chief Rita Juran was on the scene as well as Deputy Chief Todd White.
“On that day, three City departments came together as a team. A man’s life was saved by the actions of these outstanding people, whether directly or indirectly. Each and every one of them made a difference in the life of this man and his family, as well as every person who was witnessing the event on a busy day Downtown."
Published Feb 22, 2017