Public safety officers honored for service

GLADSTONE — Five Gladstone Public Safety Officers were recognized and presented written commendations for their part in three different incidents by Gladstone Public Safety Director Ron Robinson recently. One officer was presented a life saving bar to wear on his uniform for his part in saving a life this year.

Robinson explained the Gladstone Public Safety Department has a policy in place for commendations and awards. However, it has been a couple of years since awards were presented to officers. According to Robinson, the recent creation of a board of review sparked the department to look at high profile cases that occurred since the last commendations were presented.

“Recently I created a review board consisting of myself, Det./Sgt. Aaron Quinlan and Sgt. (Scott) Larson. And what happens is officers can nominate somebody or recommend somebody for an award or commendation — that recommendation is through writing, it’s submitted to me and we review those recommendations once a year,” he said.

If the recommendations meet the requirements laid out for awards within the department’s policy then the officer is presented the award during a Gladstone City Commission meeting.

Two of the cases officers were ­recognized for recently were from 2017 and the other incident occurred during February 2019.

Public Safety Officers Ryan Peterson and Mike Willemsen were presented written commendations for their involvement in a death investigation.

Peterson and Willemsen were the initial officers that responded to the scene of a 15-month-old girl that drowned in a bathtub on Oct. 7, 2017.

“Officers were called to investigate that, obviously they performed life saving measures. The investigation continued from there and the mother was charged with involuntary manslaughter and child abuse second degree.” Robinson said.

Peterson and Willemsen received assistance at the scene by Delta County Sheriff’s Department and Rampart.

Sgt. Larson, Officer Nick Pellegrini and Officer Dave Adams were presented written commendations for their actions and investigation into a serious personal injury accident.

“The second case was — everybody’s familiar with it — the Hannah DeLaire accident out on the highway here; the wrong-way driver Aubrey Hutchinson,” Robinson said.

Hutchinson was arrested by Gladstone Public Safety on Feb. 1, 2018, following a lengthy investigation into the Dec. 19, 2017 crash on U.S. 2&41/M-35 that resulted in injuries to both DeLaire and Hutchinson. Hutchinson had a high concentration of alcohol in her blood when her pickup truck collided head on into DeLaire’s northbound car in the highway’s northbound lane near Michigan Avenue.

Robinson explained Larson, Pellegrini and Adams were the officers from the department that responded to the crash and investigated it. He said the officers were assisted at the scene by other agencies.

A written commendation and a life saving bar was presented to Pellegrini for his direct involvement with saving a life.

Robinson said Pellegrini had just arrived at work when a call came in about a CPR in progress just outside the Gladstone city limits on Feb. 3, 2019.

“So Nick responded just outside the city. (He) took over doing CPR, used our AED and ended up getting the pulse back on the guy,” he said.

Pellegrini was the first law enforcement officer at the scene and the man had no pulse. Robinson said Pellegrini was able to restore the man’s pulse by time Rampart arrived.

The incidents the Gladstone Public Safety Officers were commended for are just a fraction of what the officers do on a daily basis.

“The officers aren’t necessarily looking to receive commendations and awards. Actually some of them kind of shy away from it. Nobody expects to be nominated or presented those awards, but I think it’s important that they be recognized for their … dedicated, professional service,” Robinson said.

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