Public Safety

Linn County sheriff recognizes six deputies, one K-9 and two correctional officers for saving lives

A Linn County Deputy Sheriff badge. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
A Linn County Deputy Sheriff badge. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — The Linn County Sheriff’s Office recently recognized a handful of deputies for their quick thinking and actions that resulted in lives being saved.

Sheriff Brian Gardner commended eight officers and one K-9 with the department’s Life Saving Commendation Award last month — one of the highest honors a law enforcement officer can receive.

Those who were recognized were Deputy Alan Johnson, Deputy Chad LeMense and his K-9 partner Gucci, correctional officers Dianna Ristau and Alisha Voight, Deputy Bob Amos, Deputy/Paramedic Jake Sharpe, Sgt. Todd Egli and Deputy Marty Tope.

Johnson received the award for his quick action when responding to a heroin overdose. On Feb. 7, 2019, Deputy Johnson arrived at the scene about a minute after a Cedar Rapids police officer and found an unresponsive man on the couch. The police officer had already administered one dose of Narcan, and a witness was giving the man rescue breaths.

Johnson gave the man a second dose of naloxone and took over the rescue breathing efforts, and the man soon was revived.

The following month, the sheriff’s office received a report of a missing woman.

Deputies with the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office later found the woman’s vehicle in a remote area west of Ryan. The woman’s phone and a short suicide note were found inside.

Deputy LeMense and K-9 Gucci responded to the area and tracked the woman, who was lying in a field, covered by a blanket.

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She was cold, lethargic and slurring her words, deputies said, and she said she had ingested a large quantity of pills.

Because the woman was found in an unnavigable area, two Delaware County deputies and two Linn County deputies took turns carrying her on a backboard. She was then turned over to medical staff and transported to a Cedar Rapids hospital.

In all, four Linn County sheriff’s deputies and three Delaware County sheriff’s deputies worked as a team for a positive outcome in this incident.

“The cooperation between the two agencies is commendable and shows that both agencies truly take pride in the jobs that they do every day,” Gardner said. “However, in this case, it was the direct actions of Deputy LeMense and his K-9 partner Gucci that were key in saving this woman’s life.”

On June 5, the sheriff’s office received a report of a car crash near Ely and Seven Sisters roads. Two passengers were critically injured in the head-on crash.

Deputy/Paramedic Sharpe arrived at the scene and provided treatment to all the victims, including a critically injured female passenger.

A Lifeguard air ambulance had arrived, and flight paramedics attempted to place a breathing tube but were unable to do so because blood was obscuring their view. Sharpe began suctioning blood and noticed the patient no longer had a pulse. He immediately began CPR as the flight paramedic completed the intubation.

After several minutes of CPR, the patient regained a pulse, and she was flown to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Sharpe played a key role in saving this woman’s life.

On July 13, the sheriff’s office received a call regarding a person down and not breathing near Sutliff Road in rural Lisbon.

Deputy Amos responded and found the victim was a bicyclist. A bystander was performing chest compressions.

Amos used an automated external defibrillator to shock the patient’s heart, and rescuers took over CPR. Soon afterward, the patient regained a pulse and was breathing on his own.

A week later, a jail inmate tried to kill herself using the cord of a visiting room telephone.

Correctional officers Voight and Ristau found the inmate unresponsive and initiated CPR while a third deputy went to retrieve the medical crash cart. Shortly after, the inmate resumed spontaneous breathing, but began to have seizure-like symptoms.

The officers monitored the inmate until an ambulance arrived and took her to a hospital.

On Oct. 10, Sgt. Egli performed a traffic stop and realized a 67-year-old male passenger was experiencing a critical medical incident and called for an ambulance.

The man was having trouble breathing and did not have a pulse.

Using an AED, Sgt. Egli and the driver were able to monitor the patient, who was slowly regaining consciousness. Medical personnel, including Sheriff’s Rescue 57, arrived and took the patient to a hospital.

The man ultimately was diagnosed with an aortic tear. He had lost a significant amount of blood volume and was in the critical stages of shock.

Had Sgt. Egli not removed the patient from the vehicle and laid him down — diverting blood back to the man’s brain — the man likely would not have survived.

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And lastly, on Nov. 12, Deputy Tope was conducting cell checks on the second floor of the Linn County Correctional Center when he noticed an inmate who was sleeping on his bunk, with his head dangling off one side and his feet dangling off the other.

Because of the way he was lying on his bunk, Tope was concerned for the inmate and checked on him. The inmate advised he had not slept in a while.

Tope advised his fellow staff to keep an eye on the inmate.

Tope checked on the inmate’s status a few more times, the last time noticing the inmate’s face had started turning blue and he was sweating.

Medical emergency personnel were notified and multiple deputies and correctional center nursing staff responded and provided emergency care until an ambulance arrived.

Had Tope not gone back to check on the inmate, he likely would have died.

Comments: (319) 398-8238; kat.russell@thegazette.com

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