‘Call to duty’

Four officers earn MPD’s Lifesaving Award

T-R PHOTO BY JEFF HUTTON The Marshalltown Police Department presented four of its members with its Lifesaving Award Monday night during the Marshalltown City Council meeting. From left: Officers Vern Jefferson, Dawn Blahnik, Brad Mauseth and Sgt. Melinda Ruopp.

Chief of Police Mike Tupper presented one of the Marshalltown Police Department’s highest honors — the Lifesaving Award — to Sgt. Melinda Ruopp and Officers Dawn Blahnik, Brad Mauseth and Vern Jefferson during the city council meeting Monday night.

They were cited for their heroic efforts in saving a local man who was suffering from several self-inflicted wounds to his neck — all of which could have been fatal.

“I am honored to serve with 43 uniformed personnel and six civilians at the MPD,” said Tupper. “I have said on many occasions I have the best job in Marshalltown because I get to work with the great people at the MPD. Tonight is special. We honor four who answered the call to duty and saved a man’s life.”

The four were acknowledged as a result of actions taken during the late afternoon of Sept. 19, 2017 after a dispatcher received a 9-1-1 hang-up call from the 700 block of North 3rd Avenue. When the officers arrived, they discovered a man with the wounds. The officers worked together to restrain the man, who was combative and agitated. After subduing him, they were able to apply pressure on his multiple wounds and keep him stable prior to medical personnel arriving and then transporting him to UnityPoint Health-Marshalltown hospital.

“I have 25 years experience in law enforcement,” said Tupper. “And sometimes when I go home at night I am concerned if there are tangible results of our work. The actions of these four officers on Sept. 19 truly show we make a difference.”

Collectively the four have 65+ years of service to the MPD and the community: Ruopp just marked 30 years with the department (22 as an officer); Jefferson 13+ years; Mauseth 12+ years; and Blahnik 10+ years.

After reviewing reports from the incident, an MPD supervisor took note of the effort by the four last September and submitted a recommendation for the MPD’s Lifesaving Award to a five-person committee who reviews nominations of good work.

The committee then submitted the case to Tupper, who agreed with the committee’s recommendation the officers should be recognized.

“There’s an old expression: ‘Save a life, change the world,’ said Tupper. “These four officers have.”

After the chief presented each a handsome plaque, the awardees departed council chambers to a standing ovation from the city council, family, friends, and many residents.

‘Do your job’

Calls to the council “to do your job” came from residents Reed Riskedahl and Jim Palmer. Both made statements during the public comment segment of the agenda. Their remarks came shortly after City Finance Director Diana Steiner made a detailed presentation on plans for the FY19 budget beginning July 1 and ending June 30, 2019.

“This is not right,” said Riskedahl. “The $582,000 in E-911 funds has not been ‘backed out’ of the (FY 19) budget. It is not fair and inappropriate.” Palmer, co-owner of American Aluminum Seating, said: “What you are doing (with E-911 budget) is not right. I am frustrated, I feel like I am being taxed twice, once by the city and also by the E-911 Commission.”

Riskedahl has asked the council at recent city council and budget meetings not to treat the previous E-911 levy of $582,000 as “found” money for the city’s FY 2019 budget. He was alluding to a new E-911 property taxing entity formed recently which will tax Marshall County property and telephone owners to pay for E-911 staff pay, benefits and equipment upgrades.

Before the new E-911 entity had been formed, the city collected those funds for E-911.

“I identified this issue publicly in June and November, and my comments have been ignored.” Riskedahl alleged at the Jan. 29 budget meeting.

In a recent letter to the editor, Riskedahl wrote: “So, the way this stands now, both the city and the new E911 commission will be levying property taxes that will result in increased costs to residents.”

Mayor Joel Greer said the city was working on a statement on its plan to resolve the issue. Greer said the statement would appear on the city’s website today.

The council concluded the meeting by voting unanimously to go into closed session. The council is allowed to do so pursuant to Section 21.5 subsection (1) paragraph (j) OF THE CODE OF IOWA to discuss the purchase or sale of particular real estate only where premature disclosure could be reasonably expected to increase the price the governmental body would have to pay for that property or reduce the price the governmental body would receive for that property.

In other action:

– Scheduled at noon, March 5 a public hearing in council chambers to adopt the budget for fiscal year ending June 30, 2019, and certifying the tax levy.

– Approved new liquor license – Marshalltown Speedway, 1308 E Olive Street, six months.

– Approved state tobacco permit – Shag T-Shirts & More, LLC, 2500 S Center St.

– Approved renewal liquor licenses

— Kwik Star #706; Hy-Vee Food & Drugstore; Fareway Stores, Inc. #467; 7 Rayos Liquor Store.

The next city council meeting is one to discuss the FY 19 budget, which begins July 1, 2018, and ends June 30, 2019. It will be noon, Feb. 19, in city council chambers. The next regular city council meeting is 5:30 p.m., Feb. 26, in council chambers. For complete agenda packets and to subscribe to agenda notices and department news, visit Marshalltown-ia.gov.


Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com