Courage emerges amid tragedy
Members of the Storm Lake Police Department were honored Monday night at the Storm Lake City Council meeting.
Director of Public Safety Mark Prosser and Storm Lake Mayor Jon Kruse made the presentations to the officers and one civilian.
Ann Strock who has announced her retirement after 34 years serving the city was honored as well as Patrolman Dave Doebel who was honored as the Storm Lake Officer of the Year.
But Prosser saved the best for last by honoring eight men from the department's entry team who, as Prosser said, "Came when they were called."
Honored with the Law Enforcement Medal of Valor for actions taken in Sac County on the night of Sept. 12, 2003, were Capt. Todd Erskine, Lt. Aaron Cook, Lt. Chris Cole, Ptl. Doebel, Ptl. Ray Eickholt, Ptl. Trace Kendig, Ptl. Chris Raveling and medic Tim Speers.
Prosser read a report of the night in which Sac County Sheriff's deputies, faced with situation in which a father had shot and killed his son, called on the Storm Lake Entry Team to help them gain control of what had become a deadly gun battle.
Prosser described the events of the night in detail, as the father laid down lines of fire at law enforcement officers while setting fire to his house.
Prosser said when the entry team arrived on the scene, they could see the son was dead in the house's driveway, but the father's shooting made recovery of the body unsafe.
"As the house was going up in smoke and fire," Prosser said, "the Storm Lake officers began to assess the situation in hopes of waiting the shooter out and getting him to surrender peacefully."
But the fire, setting off ammunition from the man's large weapons cache, got out of control, driving the man out of the house firing weapons from each hand, Prosser said.
"Our officers opened fire up and wounded the man, who fell," Prosser said. "He still had enough strength to kill himself before the officers were able to get to him."
As the officers were awarded their medals, family, friends, fellow officers, two Sac County sheriff's deputies who were on duty that night and the city council stood to applaud the officers.
In other city council action:
* The city's budget for fiscal year 2004-2005 was approved
* Approved the mayor to sign a mutual aid agreement with the statewide mutual aid compact of Iowa to help streamline the response of public safety agencies when they are called to assist in other jurisdictions
* Passed on third reading the ordinance to increase landfill rates by 75 cents per month. Residential will be $7.25 and commercial $9.75. The new rates will become effective on the April 1 water bills.