By Troy Wolbersen, Douglas County sheriff
I have always been a person that tries to keep up with what is happening in the world, but as a career law enforcement officer, it has become difficult to watch the news. I am not saying that the stories shouldn’t be told, but I know that the vast majority of law enforcement contact does not involve any type of use of force. Many of our calls involve service with positive outcomes. For the purpose of this article, I selected three calls.
A story about a dog is a good place to start. On a Friday in April, our dispatch received a call about a dog that had been hit by a car. The callers were concerned the dog may not survive. Deputy Dylan Kriese arrived on scene. With the help of the caller, Deputy Kriese placed the dog named Moose in the back seat of Dylan’s squad car.
Dylan found Alexandria Veterinary Clinic still open, and the animal doctors went to work on Moose. He was banged up, but fortunately had no broken bones. Today, you can find Moose back home with his family chasing his favorite red ball. The ride to the vet clinic probably saved Moose’s life, and the efforts of a lot of different people helped give this story a happy ending.
Unfortunately, many of our calls for service involve people in crisis. Mental health calls are difficult for everyone, especially the person in crisis.
One winter day, we received a call that a person had walked away from home, and there was concern that the person may harm themself. Sergeant Paul Trautman and other deputies responded. The person was found and brought to the hospital to get evaluated and the appropriate help.
Sergeant Trautman worked with the family of this person from the beginning of the call to the end. I received a phone call and a thank you card that described his actions. The card began with, “I wanted to reach out and let you know how impressed I was with Deputy Trautman.” The note also said: “Despite the tense situation, he was calm and professional. Even more impressive was the compassion he demonstrated after (the person) was found.” “…he spoke to (the person) with patience and kindness.”
The note mentions that Sgt. Trautman stayed and spoke with the family after the person was taken by ambulance. Sgt. Trautman’s demeanor was described as: “At that moment, he was more than an officer responding to one of countless calls, he treated us like a friend or neighbor.” The note ended by saying how appreciative the family was that someone like Paul was there to help at a difficult time. Once again, with Paul’s help and the efforts of others, this story had a positive resolution.
The last story involves donations and hard work. Recently, Deputy Dustin Alexander responded to a call to check on an elderly person’s well-being. He assisted the person, and while he was at the residence, he noticed that the stairs to enter the home needed repair.
Deputy Alexander contacted a friend, Garfield Fire Chief Jed Tatro, who helped coordinate a plan to fix the stairs. Like a lot of projects, the project got bigger as they dug into it. In the end, the step was replaced, and a ramp was added with a concrete landing at the end of it.
Donations and volunteered labor gave this story a happy ending. Generous donations were given by: Helping Hands, Thrivent Action Grant, Kluver Concrete Services, Hilltop Lumber and other individuals. Volunteers that helped with the construction work were: Marshall Vickerman, Adam Baumann, Craig Sholts, Craig Klug, John Oberg, Jed Tatro, Jayden Tatro, John and Rondi Wussow, Jason Kluver and Deputy Dustin Alexander.
There are many positive stories involving law enforcement. The men and women in law enforcement agencies are also members of the community. From the stories told here, you can see a sampling of the many ways they make a difference in the communities they serve.
Troy Wolbersen is the Douglas County sheriff. In the Know is a rotating column written by community leaders from the Douglas County area.