Public Safety

Linn County Sheriff's Office personnel recognized for life saving efforts in 2017

CEDAR RAPIDS — Linn County Sheriff Brian Gardner awarded several deputies and sheriff’s office personnel the Life Saving commendation for their acts in 2017.

On March 15, first responders, including deputy Tythe VanWeelden were called to a possible seizure in Hiawatha. A woman suffering from cardiac arrest. VanWeelden, a paramedic, provided medication to the woman using a medical device that delivers an IV into the bone, allowing medical personal to shock the woman’s heart back into rhythm.

The woman regained a pulse and was able to breath on her own. She was later treated and released at the hospital.

On May 25, first responders were sent to a medical call in Walker after a wife witnessed her husband go breathless and pulseless. The woman started CPR and deputy Matt Schefers was one of the officials to arrive on the scene. Schefers — along with others on the scene — provided emergency care to the husband.

After the husband was airlifted to a hospital, Schefers transported the wife in his patrol car to where the helicopter departed and then took her to the hospital. Schefers remained with the woman others arrived. The husband made a full recovery.

On Sept. 28, deputies Steve McElmeel and Heath Omar responded to a residence in rural Cedar Rapids for an elderly man who had cut himself in the leg with a chain saw. By the time the deputies arrived on the scene, the man had tied his belt around his left, but was still bleeding profusely. Omar applied a tourniquet to the man’s leg and removed the belt. McElmeel and Omar then applied gauze and tape to the wound while comforting the man until additional medical personnel arrived.

Deputy Austin Oates — along with a Cedar Rapids police officer — saved the life of a suicidal woman outside of the Linn County Courthouse on Oct. 30. On that day, a man entered the courthouse and told Oates that a woman was on the Third Avenue Bridge and looked like she was going to jump.


Oates responded and saw Cedar Rapids police officer Vicky Syverson out with the woman. The woman was yelling at Syverson to let her go, but Syverson and Oates were able to successfully grab the woman and pull her to safety until an ambulance arrived and took the woman to the hospital.

On Dec. 8, deputy Tammy Brauer observed an inmate on the floor of his cell with something tied around his neck. Deputies Jeff Norton, Scott Becker, Chelsea Behel and Brandon Stone and nurse Reaghan O’Tool responded to the suicide attempt. The deputies used a suicide knife to cut a blanket from the inmates neck and he recovered his pule. O’Toole provided medical treatment to the inmate and he was taken to a hospital for treatment.

On Dec. 10, Sgt. Corey Grote checked on an inmate who had previously been treated for a suicide attempt and observed the inmate had tied a piece of his blanket around his neck. Deputy Mat Oltmann was able to get the blanket off the inmates neck and the inmate was taken to a hospital for treatment.

On Dec. 26, deputies Brad Campbell and Steve McElmeel responded to a 911 call for a woman slumped over the steering wheel of her vehicle. The citizen who called 911 had begun chest compressions on the woman.

On the scene, Campbell and McElmeel provided medical care to the woman, including CPR and AED shocks. The woman eventually regained a pulse and was taken to a hospital, where she recovered from the incident.

l Comments: (319) 398-8238;


Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.