Appleton, Wis. (WFRV) Police officers in Appleton are receiving special recognition for going above and beyond the call of duty. During Wednesday's Appleton City Council meeting, a dozen awards were handed out, including Officer of the Year and Distinguished Service. Several citizens were also honored for their heroic efforts, including Lou Ann Steffens.
In May of 2011, Steffens assisted a clerk who was sexually assaulted at gun point and imprisoned at the Kwik Trip gas station on Calumet. The victim was running down the road when Steffens stopped her vehicle, provided aid to the victim, and called 911. The suspect, Scott Schumacher, fled to a nearby home. Schumacher's relatives alerted authorities to his whereabouts. He also shot himself. Police say he allegedly tried kidnapping another woman days before in Neenah.
Schumacher pleaded guilty to the incident and was sentenced in January of 2012. He's serving 35 years in prison and 25 years of extended supervision.
Other honorees include Officers Craig Rohm and Ryan Guilette for the "Life Saving Award." Local 5 News profiled the duo in February of this year, after the saved an elderly woman's life. The duo was on patrol in the area of Richmond and Northland when they smelled smoke. The sent lead them to a home in the 800 block of Weiland. They woke up the elderly resident, alerting her to the fire inside her home.
Guilette told Local 5, "She didn't think her house was on fire until we pointed out the flames visible from inside the house."
The homeowner, who didn't wish to be identified, told us "I just appreciate the police to be there and pound on my door until I answered it. I would hate to think what could have happened to myself and my two dogs if [the officers weren't] there."
The Appleton Police Department will hold a special, private ceremony for its officers on Thursday. Below is a list of the additional honorees.
Officer of the Year - Sgt. Polly Olson: For all the work she has done in her position of Investigator/PSL/SORP. Polly successfully investigated and was heavily involved with several complicated sex offenses and child abuse cases in 2011. In addition to that she is implementing a team of patrol officers to verify the compliance of sex offenders on the sex offender registry that are living in Appleton.
Distinguished Service - Sgt. Don Kramer: For his 82 OWI arrests in 2011 accounting for 15% of the Department's total OWI arrest.
Distinguished Service - Sgt. Mike Daul: For his investigation of several complicated incidents resulting in arrests as well continuing to be a leader in the area of traffic enforcement.
Police Star Medal - Officers Ryan Neff and Blake Rice: For the successful taking into custody a suicidal subject that endangered them with a knife.
Meritorious Service Award - Sgt. Katie Vanderheiden: For her investigation and looking beyond the original call of a theft complaint. Through her investigation, she was able to identify 17 different locations of theft and three individuals were referred on 50 different criminal charges.
Meritorious Service Award - Sgt. Leon Fischer: For his implementation and maintenance of several forms of technology over the last two years at the APD. This technology would include his work with TRaCs, FormDocs, and ICOP.
Team Award - Officers Joe Lidbury, Eric Holdorf, Ignacio Enriquez, Ryan Guilette, Ryan Condon, and Miriam Roskam: For the apprehension, investigation, and arrest of two juveniles that were in possession of a handgun and were threatening to shoot a resident at 217 S. Pierce St. in August of 2011.
Team Award - Investigators Jackie Gleiss, Brian Leitzinger, Cary Meyer, Chue Thao, John Schira, Neal Rabas, Sgt. John Ostermeier and Sgt. Joe Whitney: For the identification, investigation, and apprehension of three adults involved with two Walgreen's Robberies and the Consumer Prescription Robbery that occurred in November and December of 2011.
Humanitarian Award - Sgt. Keith Bredael and his wife Lisa: On June 15, 2011 Sgt. Bredael arrested an adult female shoplifter and soon realized that she was in dire need of assistance for her two young children (ages 4 and 3 weeks). Keith and Lisa provided some of their own clothing for the children and connected the family to services available in the community.
Volunteer of the Year Award - Mary Kay Kahnke: For her involvement in the Speed Watch program and volunteer newsletter.
We'll have much more from these winners, on Local 5 News at ten.