Janesville43.5°

Walworth County officers’ service recognized

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Kayla Bunge
May 14, 2008
— “Hurry, please hurry. He’s shooting at her,” an exasperated man told dispatchers.

Police responded to the darkened house at 309 S. Second St., Delavan, just after 10:30 p.m. June 9, after a report of shots fired.


Deputy Kirk Dodge, a member of the Walworth County SWAT Team, was among the first to arrive at the scene. He glanced inside a minivan parked outside the house and saw a 20-month-old child.


Dodge ripped the door of the vehicle open, took the child from her car seat and ran her a half-block down the street to a waiting Delavan police sergeant. He noticed her clothes were wet with blood, and that she had been shot in the chest.


Dodge returned to the house and led the SWAT Team inside. There, six people were found dead.


In recognition of his actions, Dodge was awarded the Walworth County Sheriff’s Department Lifesaving Award on Wednesday afternoon.


Other sheriff’s department award recipients were:


-- Lifesaving Award—Undersheriff Kurt Picknell, Sgt. Rob Hall, deputies James Trussler and Todd Newman, and state trooper Josh Riley.


The officers pulled a 38-year-old Lake Geneva man from a retention pond Aug. 21, after he became stuck in a drainage pipe.


The man was in the pond in Lafayette Township clearing debris from the screen covering the pipe. When the debris dislodged, it created a whirlpool, and the suction held him on the pipe.


The man was stuck for about 20 minutes, but his head and torso were above water.


The officers threw rescue ropes to the man, who was about 12 feet from land, and pulled him from the water before the dive team arrived.


-- Distinguished Service Award—Deputies Jason Hintz and Robert Wierenga.


The Walworth County Sheriff’s Department assisted in the search for a man who shot a Kenosha County sheriff’s deputy to death during a traffic stop May 16.


Wierenga led six K-9 teams in the search.


After officers received two pings from the suspect’s cell phone indicating his location nearby, the K-9 teams moved closer.


Hintz’s K-9 partner, Beno, barked, scaring the armed suspect from his hiding place and causing him to move toward the waiting search team.


-- Distinguished Service Award—Sgt. Mark Roum.


The Walworth County Sheriff’s Department recently implemented the TraCS electronic tracking and citation program, which allows patrol officers to complete reports and issue citations using a computer installed in their squad cars.


Roum implemented the program and trained staff on how to use it.


-- Distinguished Service Award—Sgt. Howard Sawyers.


The Walworth County Jail recently implemented four new programs: a phone system that allows the sheriff’s department to track inmates’ telephone calls, an inmate banking system, an inmate tracking system and electronic monitoring.


Sawyers helped develop and install the systems and trained staff on how to use them.


-- Meritorious Service Award—Deputy Tim Ruszkiewicz.


While off duty in downtown Elkhorn on May 1, 2007, Ruszkiewicz saw a vehicle drive past dragging a tent. He approached the driver, who rolled down his window and asked for directions and then if Ruszkiewicz wanted to buy some Valium.


Ruszkiewicz took out his wallet and showed the driver his badge.


“I think I should be leaving now,” the driver said, but Ruszkiewicz said the driver couldn’t leave and called Elkhorn police, who handled the incident.


-- Medal of Honor—Deputy Troy Pagenkopf


Pagenkopf, Lake Geneva Police Sgt. Tom Giovannoni and Lyons Fire Chief Craig Amman pulled a 29-year-old man from a burning house Aug. 15 in Lyons Township.


Pagenkopf and Giovannoni arrived first, entering the house without protective clothing or oxygen masks. They called out to anyone who might be in the house, but had to leave because the smoke was too thick.


Amman arrived next, entering the house without an oxygen mask. He found the man lying face down in bed. He couldn’t move the man by himself so he called to Pagenkopf and Giovannoni for help.


The man survived.



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