Created: 06/08/2014 7:00 PM KAALtv.com
(Alexandria, MN) -- The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association (MPPOA) awarded its top honor of “Police Officer of the Year” to Sergeant Eric Kilian of the Hutchinson Police Department.
Sgt. Kilian has been a police officer for 22 years, serving the cities of Hutchinson and St. Paul during his career. Currently Sgt. Kilian is assigned as a shift supervisor as well as the team leader of the Special Response Team. Sgt. Kilian was awarded this distinction for his bravery, courage and integrity as demonstrated through an occurrence last October in Hutchinson.
On October 25, 2013, Sgt. Kilian responded to a suspicious person call at an apartment building in Hutchinson. He was told that a male was sleeping in the stairway of the complex. Dispatchers advised that the man was lying on a bag on the floor and that he was possibly in possession of a “pipe”.
As Sgt. Kilian approached the man, he immediately reached for the bag lying beneath him and became very aggressive. Due to his belligerent actions, Sgt. Kilian believed that the suspect was likely under the influence of methamphetamine. As Sgt. Kilian began to place the man in handcuffs, he became combative towards Sgt. Kilian and engaged the officer in a physical altercation.
During the struggle, the suspect made numerous attempts to disarm Sgt. Kilian. Knowing he was running out of options, in a split second, Sgt. Kilian was able to discharge his weapon at the suspect’s chest. At this point, the suspect ran down the stairs and out the back door. He collapsed near the rear of the building. Sgt. Kilian retrieved first aid gear from his squad and he and other officers then on the scene, rendered aid until paramedics arrived.
The suspect was transported for medical treatment and has since recovered from his wound. He was charged with attempting to disarm a peace officer. It was confirmed that the suspect was under the influence of methamphetamines and opiates at the time of the incident. Small baggies containing meth were recovered on the ground where he collapsed. At the time of the incident, the suspect had a felony warrant out for his arrest.
Upon conclusion of the criminal investigation by the BCA, the McLeod County Attorney determined that Sgt. Kilian was justified in his use of deadly force. “The incident lasted only three minutes, yet during this time Sgt. Kilian’s astute response during this situation demonstrates that he is a true professional.
He was faced with a very agitated person, determined to disarm him which easily could have resulted in his own death or that of others in the building,” said Dennis Flaherty Executive Director of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association.
There were two awards for Honorable Mention given out at the event. The first was to St. Paul Police Officer Mark Blumberg, a 21-year veteran of law enforcement.
Officer Blumberg has been assigned to the Eastern District, Canine Unit, Central District and currently works in the downtown beat office. Officer Blumberg is also trained as a paramedic, as well as being certified as a Crisis Intervention Team officer. He has been deeply involved in the city’s mentally ill and homeless populations.
Officer Blumberg’s commitment to helping the mentally ill is demonstrated through his efforts to improve the department’s Field Training Program. He has developed an integrated program to partner St. Paul Police recruits with mental health professionals.
Officer Blumberg established a pilot program for recruits to spend time with patients and staff at the Regions Hospital Psychiatric Unit. Through his experience working in the Central District, Officer Blumberg understands that there are many mentally ill people that police officers will encounter.
He explained to his command staff and the hospital that new officers need to graduate from the academy with extensive training on how to protect the public’s safety and their own when dealing with the mentally ill.
Another Honorable Mention award given out at the ceremony was to Officer Brian Hasselman of the Burnsville Police Department. Officer Hasselman has served on the Burnsville Police Department for eight years. In 2011, he joined the canine unit with his partner Razor. Since then, they have been a valuable resource to not only Burnsville, but surrounding agencies as well. Officer Hasselman and Razor were utilized over 75 times for suspect and loss person tracking, suspect apprehension, drug detention, school sniffs and to assist the tactical team in the past year.
In addition, they have been featured at numerous community functions and have participated in over 20 public demonstrations.
The team of Officer Hasselman and Razor recently received an Outstanding Performance Award from the US Police Canine Association for their role in apprehending a suspect under the influence of drugs, during a domestic violence incident last year. “Officer Hasselman and Razor have placed themselves between unknown danger and the community to ensure the public’s safety. We are proud to recognize that dedication” Flaherty stated.