In addition to the team award, Chris Rheault, a detective with the Woodbury Police Department, was named Hostage Negotiator of the Year. Rheault was honored for his work to free a group of young people who were being held hostage Aug. 31 at the Red Roof Inn in Woodbury.
“Chris Rheault was one of the first responding officers, and ultimately, with the assistance of intelligence received from his team, was able to talk the suspect into allowing all of the hostages go one or two at a time,” according to the Special Operations Training Association award nomination. “His ability to quickly establish rapport with the suspect saved numerous lives that morning.”
Demetrius S. Ballinger, 25, of North St. Paul, had taken a dozen young people hostage, according to a criminal complaint charging him with more than two dozen felonies. One hostage, Mark E. Henderson, 19, was killed during the crisis as he tried to flee.
Jeff Zerwas, another detective with the Woodbury Police Department and also leader of the county’s SWAT negotiations team, said, “The professionalism and dedication to doing exceptional work as a crisis negotiations team was acknowledged with these awards. We are fortunate to have the right mix of people in our organization.”
Fiber-optic cables will link to state
Access Communications will install fiber-optic cabling from the Washington County Government Center in Stillwater to Manning Avenue. The contract for the project is for $139,559.
This section of fiber-optic cabling will complete a fiber ring that will connect Washington County to the state of Minnesota and the Internet via existing fiber in Anoka and Ramsey counties. This connection will provide network backup for the Government Center during the years when a new St. Croix River bridge is being built.
Board appoints two to committees
Caleb Brunz of Woodbury will serve on the Washington County Public Health Emergency Preparedness Advisory Committee, representing District 5, for a term expiring Dec. 31. The committee makes recommendations to the County Board on matters relating to public health duties.
Lesley Williams of St. Paul Park was appointed to the Workforce Investment Board for a term that will expire June 30, 2015. The Workforce Investment Board determines grant recipients and program operators.
Nominations sought for city’s top volunteer
Cottage Grove is seeking nominations for Volunteer of the Year, an honor recognizing exceptional service to the community over the past year. The city also is accepting nominations to recognize long-term service to the community.
Download a nomination form at www.cottage-grove.org or pick one up at City Hall. Return the completed form to City Hall at 12800 Ravine Parkway S. by April 12.