Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan handed out an array of awards to law enforcement officers and citizens on Wednesday for their heroism, professionalism and contributions to the public good.
He cited investigators whose work brought down a major gang, officers who talked suicidal people off of bridges, a local doctor who gave CPR to save someone’s life and a citizen in northeast Minneapolis who helped subdue a suspect who was fighting a police officer.
The quarterly awards ceremony recognized more than 100 people, including 82 Minneapolis police officers.
Among the most dramatic incidents involved John Sundahl, 31, who was fixing dinner at his home on the 2600 block of Polk St. NE, when a suspect, pursued by a police officer, ran by the house last June. Sundahl heard the officer order the man to the ground and saw the officer deploy her Taser.
Dolan said the Sundahl saw the suspect “violently rip the wires from the probes” of the Taser. The suspect weighed about 100 pounds more than the officer. Sundahl came outside, put the suspect in a neck restraint and took him to the ground and “calmly told the suspect to relax,” Dolan said. “The suspect was so large he required three sets of handcuffs to link his arms.”
“Mr. Sundahl went above and beyond what most citizens would consider doing to prevent this officer from being injured or even killed,” said Dolan, in awarding him a “Citizen’s Award of Valor.”
Sundahl, a lead technician for Comcast and former bouncer, shrugged off the award. “I think anyone would have done it,” he said after the ceremony.
Police asked the media not to photograph several of the officers because of their undercover assignments and deleted their names from a summary provided the media.
Among the others who were cited:
Officer Paul Dellwo, who ran into a burning duplex and knocked on doors to make sure residents got out safely;
Officers Kenneth Awalt and Kong Moua who pulled a man from a bathtub, who was hallucinating and attempting to commit suicide;
Officers KeHeung Anderson, Jonahs Novak, Christine Patino and John Trangsrud who pulled a man off a balcony railing who was shouting that he wanted to kill himself;
Sgt. Kent Warnberg and Officer Roland Hillstrom, who saved an emotionally disturbed man whom they found unconscious in a closed garage with two vehicles running. The victim was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center as were the two officers who were treated for exposure to high levels of carbon monoxide;
Sgt. Chris Pickhardt, who spent an hour talking to a despondent man who had climbed over a railing and was threatening to jump off the Washington Avenue bridge over the Mississippi River. Pickhardt persuaded the man to climb back over the railing so he could be taken to the hospital;
Dr. Johanna Moore, with help from two other citizens, Amanda and Pedro Tapia, gave CPR to a person on the Broadway Avenue Bridge until ambulances arrived and got the person’s heart restarted;
Sgt. Kelly O’Rourke and an undercover officer, whose investigation helped lead to to the conviction of Joseph Gustafson Sr. and Joseph Gustafson Jr., of the Beat Down Posse, a north Minneapolis gang. Dolan said there was a credible threat against O’Rourke’s life, and he and his family had to move from their home until the investigators felt it was safe to return;
An undercover police officer and an undercover FBI special agent whose investigation led to conviction of two gang members.