Little Falls Police Chief commends area law enforcement professionals

By Terry Lehrke, News Editor
[email protected]

Little Falls Police Chief Greg Schirmers sent letters of commendation to area law enforcement officers, following an incident in Little Falls, where the subject was taken into custody without incident.

In his report to the Little Falls City Council Monday, he offered copies of the commendation letters and a little more about the incident.

On May 14, a subject in a backyard on Cherry Avenue had pointed a handgun at a neighbor who was exiting a vehicle.

Officers on the scene confirmed he had a semi-automatic handgun and was attempting to chamber a round.

The subject was ordered to drop the gun. He eventually complied and was taken into custody without incident.

What was not mentioned in the commendation letters is as follows:

“As the officers approached the residence, the individual had attempted to chamber a round. The round misfired and jammed the weapon. The individual was attempting to clear the jammed round and reload the weapon as officers confronted him. After the individual was taken into custody, he stated to officers that his intention was to commit ‘suicide by cop,’ but his gun jammed.”

“I am honored to be in a position to offer commendations to these professional and courageous officers,” Schirmers’ report said.

“It is however very alarming to be a witness to the apparent increase in critical incidents in our community,” Schirmers’ report to the Council said. “The officers that serve this community often put themselves at risk because they are committed to keeping Little Falls and Morrison County a safe place for all of us to live, work and raise our families,.”

The report also included some sobering statistics.

According to statistics recently released by the FBI, 72 police officers were killed by suspects in the line of duty last year;16 more officers than were killed in 2010.

“In fact, in 2011, more police officers were killed by suspects than were killed in accidents,” Schirmers’ report said. “The statistic marks the highest number of officer deaths in nearly 20 years, not counting terrorist attacks.”

Receiving commendation letters from Schirmers were Morrison County Sheriff’s Deputies Jamie Luberts, Hasten Warnberg, Rick Mattison; Little Falls Police Officers Derrick Nagorski and David Stevenson and Minnesota State Patrol Trooper Sam Catlin.

In May, the total number of incidents handled by the Little Falls Police Department was 486.