RCPD officers honored

By Katherine Wartell

Four Riley County Police Department employees, including an officer and dispatch supervisor who helped to save the life of an infant girl, were honored at Monday’s monthly Law Board meeting.

Officer Mark Cusimano and dispatch supervisor Dawn Wickizer were presented the Life-Saving Award for providing “critical life-saving assistance” in the case of a one-month old girl who had stopped breathing.

The child’s mother called 911 on June 25 and Police Director Brad Schoen said Wickizer was promptly able to obtain an address so that Cusimano made it to the child’s house within a minute of the call being reported.

Schoen said Wickizer then stayed on the phone with the mother, instructing her on how to properly perform CPR. When Cusimano arrived, prior to the Manhattan Fire Department and EMS, Schoen said the officer provided CPR to the infant until fire department personnel were able to take over.

She was transported to Mercy Regional Health Center and later flown to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.

The infant and her parents were present in the audience at Monday’s meeting, but were not named. “We are eternally grateful to (Cusimano and Wickizer),” the infant’s mother told the board. “They were wonderful.”

On Monday, Officer Scott Hagemeister was also promoted to sergeant and Lt. Josh Kyle received a Meritorious Service Award for his involvement in a police training program that focuses on combining problem-based learning with emotional intelligence. Kyle is a part of the Manitoba, Canada, based Police Society for Problem Based Learning and has become the first Level IV instructor for the society.

Additionally at the meeting, board members briefly revisited the recurring topic of mental health training for officers and creating a crisis intervention team in Riley County. The necessity of such a program and its potential cost have been discussed in past meetings, and on Monday, Board member Karen McCulloh announced that there will be a Mental Health Panel on Oct. 8 at the Manhattan Public Library at 6:30 p.m. to start a dialogue on the topic.

During the monthly meeting, board members also approved a new disciplinary system and promotion process. The disciplinary system, called their Performance Improvement Plan, focuses on coaching under-performing employees and targeting their weak areas through monthly progress reports until they have reached a satisfactory level of performance.

The department also laid out the experience necessary for promotions, including the number of years employees must work within the department before they can be eligible for promotion.

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