John Stasny

Lake Elmo resident John Stasny, middle, was given the Life Saving Award Oct. 5 by, left, Sheriff Dan Starry and DNR’s Boat Safety Administrator Stan Linnell. (Submitted photo)

On June 15, John Stasny of Lake Elmo heard his dogs barking so he looked out his window on Lake Jane. He noticed three people in the water without a boat and he thought they were divers. His dogs continued barking and when he looked out on the water he heard someone yell for help.

Stasny ran to his pontoon, and saw three people in the water. As he pushed off from his dock, he could only see two people. Stasny recovered a male who was not wearing a lifejacket, and stated in interviews he was about to go under. Stasny recovered the other male who was wearing a lifejacket and returned to look for the third male, but they were unable to locate him. Stasny called 911 while they searched the lake and provided information which assisted the emergency response.

Stasny provided the use of his pontoon to the first responders before additional resources arrived and during the coordinated search.

Without Stasny’s quick actions, the incident could have included additional fatalities.

Stasny was recognized for efforts with a Life Saving Award at the Washington County Sheriff’s Office Employee Recognition Awards Ceremony Oct. 5 at the Historic Courthouse in Stillwater.

Members of the Washington County Sheriff’s Department were honored for their actions that went above and beyond the call of duty.

Those receiving commendations included Sheriff Dan Starry, who accepted the FBI Excellence in Information Sharing Award with Sgt. Keith Anderson and Sgt. Mike Benson from D. Joseph Weir of the FBI. The award stemmed from work performed by a criminal analyst assigned to the drug task force field office of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

Jail Sgt. Frank Capra, Corp. Dennis Rondeau, Correctional Officers Cortney Scheele, Paula Mandell, Deb Hartman, Chris Stellman, and Greg McCreary, and Sgt. Nicholas Klinkner received letters of excellence.

Jail staff responded to an inmate threatening to do self-harm. The quick response by all of the staff prevented an inmate from injuring himself, or, worse, committing suicide. The staff followed their training, remained calm, and acted quickly in responding to this incident.

Correctional Officer Paula Mandell is a veteran officer with excellent communication skills, and received a Letter of Excellence. She has developed a style where she has a strong rapport with some of the most difficult and combative inmates. During an incident, Mandell used her communication skills when talking to an inmate in the segregation unit. Segregation is the disciplinary housing unit of the jail.

Mandell thought the inmate had contraband hidden in his cell. Through her communication skills, the inmate gave Mandell the contraband in question. This contraband, if not found, could have jeopardized the safety and security of inmates and staff alike.

In December 2016, Sgt. Jacqueline Dahms volunteered to go to a national Mobile Field Force (MFF) training, and she received a Letter of Excellence for her work. Dahms was the only non-sworn officer at the training. More than 50 law enforcement personnel from agencies all over the country were trained on the basics of MFF with Dahms’ assistance.

Dahms is now taking her experience and knowledge to formulate a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for mass arrests that may come to the jail someday.

Sgt. David Stumpner has been in charge of the Annual Jail Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC) Inspection for the last three years, and received a Letter of Excellence. The annual inspection includes one self-audit and two DOC inspector audits. During this time, the Washington County Jail has received 100 percent compliance results on all mandatory and non-mandatory criteria. Receiving 100 percent results is very difficult, and very few jails accomplish this.

Dispatcher Pam Bradshaw volunteered to be the first 9-1-1 Public Safety Dispatcher assigned to the Warrant Detail, and received a Letter of Excellence for her work. This detail, which was created in January 2015, was meant to improve the warrant entry process. Bradshaw immediately took to her new role. Over the past years, she has consistently demonstrated the ability to take charge, initiate actions, and achieve desired results. An audit completed by Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in October of 2016 resulted in achieving high marks.

On Aug. 8, Stillwater Police were dispatched to an assault report in which the suspect entered the river and was attempting to swim away. Deputy Larry Cable and Reserve Megan Shelley were assigned to the St. Croix River boat and responded to assist. They received letters of excellence for their work.

Sgt. Garret Kleinendorst has recieved the exceptional service citation. He has been a Sheriff’s Office instructor for the past 20 years. He has trained many Sheriff’s Office personnel in CPR, Oxygen Therapy, AED and First Aid over the past 20 years. He has also trained personnel from other county departments and many volunteer units. It is hard to fathom how many people Kleinendorst has trained in these life saving techniques. Kleinendorst oversees the Jail CPR Unit and is in charge of two other Correctional Officer CPR instructors.

On July 6, Trista Nelson noticed a 6-year-old child playing in the water, hopping as he attempted to stay above water, then noticed the child go under. Shayla VanBeek and her mother, Nelson, ran into the water. VanBeek found the child on the bottom of the pond and attempted to pick him up. They carried the child out of the water to the lifeguards. Nelson indicated in the report the child’s lips were blue, his eyes were closed, and his face was pale white. The child began to cough up water and his skin color returned to normal as she handed him to the lifeguard.

Without their quick actions, the incident could have resulted in a fatal drowning.

On Aug. 12, Derek Hartman was operating a personal watercraft (PWC) when he observed another PWC strike a large wave sideways. The PWC went airborne and as it landed, caused the operator to hit his head and fall into the water. Hartman turned around and noticed the operator was in the water face down supported by his life jacket. Hartman returned to the individual in the water and jumped into the river. He turned the individual so his face was out of the water, and noticed he was not breathing and was unconscious. While he was in the water, the victim began to regain consciousness but was not aware of what occurred.

Without Hartman’s quick actions of turning the victim face up in the water and assisting him during this incident it could have resulted in a fatal watercraft accident.

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