Wow! Mom's a hero cop

  • Article by: MATT MCKINNEY , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 19, 2011 - 9:42 PM

200 awards were given to police officers, Park Police and civilian workers. Many revealed heroics in public safety.

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A meticulous investigator who hunts down child abusers. A downtown cop who saw a better way to handle the wave of arrests at bar-closing time. Four officers who pulled a suicidal man to safety as he threatened to jump from a downtown parking ramp.

The Minneapolis Police Department's finest hours of 2010 were recounted and recognized Tuesday by Chief Tim Dolan.

The annual ceremony, held at the city's Emergency Operations Training Facility, saw about 200 awards given to police, civilians and officers from other agencies.

Dolan, recently returned from a trip to study law enforcement in Israel, noted that police officers there are honored, while public servants in the United States have become targets in budget wars. "You might feel a little underappreciated right now," he told his staff. "We appreciate you."

The stories behind some of the awards were disquieting accounts.

Sgt. Charles Green was named the department's investigator of the year for his work in pursuing evidence for a child-abuse case in which a 6-year-old was tied to a basement pole and whipped with an extension cord. The case was like "something out of the dark ages," said Lt. Greg Reinhardt at the time of the initial arrest last May. Accused child beater Troy L. Clay, 38, faces a court hearing next month on charges of first-degree assault and malicious punishment of a child.

Green was also recognized for broader efforts to fight child abuse, work that includes teaching new medical residents at Hennepin County Medical Center to spot evidence of child abuse and coordinating with hospitals and social welfare agencies.

Officer James Archer was named officer of the year for his work in developing a booking van program for downtown Minneapolis. The van, in operation for about a year and a half, means street officers no longer have to book their own arrests into the county jail, saving them time and keeping them on the street.

"It's crazy," Archer said of downtown during bar-closing time. "It's like Mardi Gras every night."

Archer's award capped his career at the Minneapolis Police Department. Tuesday was his last day in uniform.

In other awards:

• Officer Amy Krekelberg was named the Park Police officer of the year.

• Officers of the Fifth Precinct, which covers southwest Minneapolis and Uptown, were recognized for their work in fighting violent crime. The precinct recorded the sharpest drop in violent crime last year, including sharp declines in burglaries, robberies, assaults and larcenies. The reductions were credited to a "hot spot" strategy that focused officers on the areas most likely to see crime, resulting in 6,985 arrests.

• Thirty-five lifesaving awards were handed out, many to officers who helped suicidal people. Lt. Gwen Gunter and officers Robert Greer, Mark Lanasa and Rickey Van Dyke were honored for pulling a suicidal man back onto the third floor of the 5th Street parking ramp as he hung from an electrical box.

And, befitting the winter that's just passed, an officer was recognized for meeting one of the largest snowfalls in the past 20 years with life-saving: Sgt. Nancy Murphy started her day Dec. 10 by administering CPR to a neighbor who had collapsed while snow-blowing. Her actions helped save his life. She then drove to work at the city's Emergency Operations Training Facility, only to find it blocked by 4 feet of snow. She flagged down a snowplow driver and paid him to plow the driveway.

Matt McKinney • 612-217-1747

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