Police chief honored for saving life

Published 4:24 am Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Diane Lenway, administrative assistant to the Albert Lea Police Department, right, shakes the hand of Albert Lea Police Chief Dwaine Winkels during a ceremony Monday to recognize Winkels for his lifesaving efforts for Lenway in June. -- Photo Courtesy Teresa Kauffmann

Albert Lea’s police chief received special recognition Monday during the Albert Lea City Council meeting for performing lifesaving first aid on his co-worker.

During a special ceremony in the meeting, Diane Lenway, the administrative assistant to the Albert Lea Police Department, thanked Chief Dwaine Winkels with a certificate for his quick thinking and first aid performed on her on June 21 after she had an allergic reaction that ultimately forced her unconscious.

“I have a new appreciation for the people I work with,” Lenway said. “I can see their professionalism from a victim side of things instead of a co-worker.”

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For several years, Lenway said she has seen the inner workings of the Police Department. But she said it wasn’t until this incident that really made her appreciate what her co-workers do on a daily basis.

Lenway said on the day of the incident she had been treated for carpal tunnel syndrome and was just put on naproxen by her doctor.

“Within a minute or two I realized I was having a reaction,” she said.

She grabbed another co-worker, Lori Ramakel, and the two were going to go to the hospital. They went to tell Winkels what was happening, when Lenway collapsed and quit breathing.

She was going into anaphylactic shock.

Lenway said Winkels called for officer assistance and an ambulance and found out she carried an EpiPen to work. He administered a dose of the epinephrine from the pen and offered assistance until paramedics arrived.

“It was very serious, and it gave us a scare,” Winkels said.

Lenway ultimately recovered, however, and was able to return to work less than a week later.

During the meeting Monday, she gave Winkels a hug as she thanked him and others who helped her that day.

“I’m very grateful for everyone who helped,” she said. “We all work together and those guys deal with things like that every day, but it’s not usually on people that they know.”

Winkels and Lenway encouraged people with a potentially serious medical condition to let their co-workers and other people they spent a lot of time with know about it.

In other action, the City Council:

• Approved a new credit card policy for the city, including improved internal and accountability controls for uses of the cards.

The new policy outlines who can use the credit cards, namely city department heads under the approval of the city manager, and that each cardholder must sign an agreement accepting terms of the use of the card.

It also states a dollar limitation on the card, a dollar limitation per transaction, as well as a dollar limitation for the total of all charges made during each month.

Specific purchases that can and cannot be made are outlined in the policy.

City Manager Chad Adams said the State Auditor’s Office has reviewed the policy and had no comments.

He also noted that the Auditor’s Office investigated all previous uses of the city credit cards by department heads and will not proceed further with any investigation.

“From a staff perspective, we view this as a closed issue,” Adams said.

• Voted to accept the city manager’s appointment of Winkels as interim fire chief.

• Accepted bids and awarded the contract for the Stevens Street sewer project to Arthur Inc. of Owatonna for about $197,000.

The project includes reconstructing the sanitary sewer along Stevens Street from Morningside Avenue east to the southeast corner of the intersection of Prospsect Avenue and Stevens Street.

The engineer’s estimate was about $181,000.

• Accepted bids and awarded the contract for biosolids removal to United Liquid Waste Recycling Inc. of Fennimore, Wis., for about $235,000.

The project includes removing about $4 million gallons of biosolids per year for a three-year period.

The engineer’s estimate was $264,000.

• Voted to acquire the lot at 110 Lake Ave. for $1 through a tax forfeiture sale.

• Approved combining two lots in the Habben First Addition.

• Approved the replacement of an outdoor warning siren near City Arena that is no longer working and appears to have been hit by lightning.

Costs are estimated at about $13,000 for the new siren and other equipment, about $7,000 for mounting and wiring and about $1,500 to remove the old siren, along with three other obsolete sirens at other places in the city.

Staff recommended the project cost come from unallocated police and fire pension interest income.

• Approved an agreement between the city and Waldorf College, allowing Waldorf to use City Arena for their hockey program for the 2011-12 season.

The agreement includes Waldorf paying $105 an hour for ice rental for practice and $400 per game played. Practices are anticipated to be from 9 to 11 p.m.

The college will have exclusive use of the locker room formerly used by the Albert Lea Thunder.