by Dennis Dalman
Two police officers were honored with awards at the Dec. 10 Sartell City Council meeting, one of them for his quick expertise at the site of a house fire, the other for spearheading so many training programs for officers.
Sartell Police Chief Jim Hughes read the citations of praise and presented the awards.
On Sept. 12 at about 11:30 p.m., Sartell officer Curt Grosz was patrolling an area near Seventh Avenue N. and 27th Street N. when he thought he saw a fire. He turned his squad car around and saw flames rapidly spreading on the side of a house as high as the eaves. The fire had apparently spread to the house from a bonfire in the yard. First, Grosz called emergency dispatch, then he used a fire extinguisher on the flames before pounding on the door, trying to awaken whoever might be inside. He then noticed a garden hose near the house. He turned on the water and sprayed the flames until they were all extinguished. In the meantime, Sartell firefighters arrived to take charge of the situation.
The home’s siding, Hughes noted, was very old cedar wood, and without Grosz’s immediate actions, the house could have been ablaze, gravely endangering the sleeping residents inside.
Next, Hughes honored Sgt. Wayne Schreiner with a Meritorious Service Award. For years, Schreiner has worked constantly, most often on his own time, to research, develop and fine-tune the police department’s ongoing training program.
Training, Hughes said, has become a vital component of police work, more and more important with the passing years. Without up-to-date ongoing training, a dangerous complacency can set in. In the past few years, thanks largely to Schreiner, Sartell police have been training based on real-world scenarios. Such training, Hughes noted, makes police work safer and more efficient while also boosting safety for the people police serve.
Schreiner, throughout the years, made huge commitments in time to research tactic and techniques of training, including the programs in many other police departments. He scrutinized literally hundreds of programs, rating each for their effectiveness, then adapting and tweaking for use in Sartell. The training, Hughes said, greatly increases the skills of each officer and enhances safety and efficiency.
Author: Dennis Dalman
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.