TAWAS CITY – Several items associated with the Tawas Police Authority (TPA) were discussed at the Nov. 9, virtual meeting of the Tawas City Council. This included recognition of Officer Jeremy Daniszewski, who has received a Lifesaving Award.
“This has been due for some time,” said Police Chief Mark Ferguson, who first announced the commendation at a July 6 TPA Board meeting. The idea was to present the award in person, in front of city officials. “But this is 2020 – so here we are,” he added.
Ferguson read the commendation he drafted for Daniszewski, who joined the department in July 2017. The chief wrote that on the morning of June 27, Daniszewski responded to a complaint of a domestic disturbance and a woman screaming for help in Tawas City.
“Upon arrival you encountered a subject giving limited information but saying, ‘he needs help,’ and pointing in the general direction of a home,” Ferguson stated. “You observed a significant amount of blood throughout the entryway of the home and made entry. You quickly made contact with a man with deep lacerations to his arm; deep enough to reveal bone and bleeding profusely.”
According to Ferguson, Daniszewski radioed central dispatch and upgraded the already en route ambulance; requested Tawas City Fire Department (TCFD) Medical First Responders; and retrieved a field tourniquet from his uniform, which he applied to the man’s injured arm, stopping the bleeding.
Daniszewski continued to care for the individual, providing a calm and reassuring presence not only for him, but also for the other first responders and the occupants of the home.
The man was eventually transported to the hospital, and later to an elevated medical treatment center, Ferguson stated. “Days later he posted videos of himself regaining mobility in the hand of his injured arm.”
Several people have credited the officer’s quick actions and use of the tourniquet with saving the man’s life, including Iosco County Central Dispatch Director, Michael Eller; Michigan State Police Sgt. Don Bolen and TCFD Chief Steve Masich, both of whom were on scene; and Dr. Bob Maye of the Ascension St. Joseph Hospital Emergency Department, who treated the man.
“If not for your actions this man would likely have succumbed to his injury between the time you acted and the arrival of EMS fifteen minutes later,” Ferguson wrote to Daniszewski.
“You are deserving of a commendation for your Life Saving response that morning. However, your efforts are not only commendable because of this one incident,” Ferguson went on. “What also needs to be recognized is the effort you have consistently put forth over the past several years improving yourself as a first responder, attending training on the use of the tourniquet and making the decision to carry it on your uniform so it was readily available in this moment of need.”
He added that Daniszewski’s continued efforts and dedication to his profession made the success of his response possible, and should be recognized as an example of the service he provides the community every shift.
To further acknowledge his efforts, the officer will also receive a pin to display on his uniform.
Ferguson said another person who was instrumental in this was Jonathan Dettmer. He supplied the TPA with the tourniquets, via a grant, and led the training on the use of same. Dettmer was assisted by Ascension St. Joseph Hospital in securing the training tools and supplies. This was done in coordination with a program called Stop the Bleed, which provides such training around the world.
“Jeremy, we really appreciate your efforts and they are definitely noted,” expressed Tawas City Mayor Ken Cook.
This sentiment was shared by the other council members, including Jackie Masich, who congratulated Daniszewski and thanked him for his quick thinking and hard work.
Councilman Jon Studley said he is proud to have Daniszewski as part of the police department, and that he looks forward to the things he will continue to do.
This topic provided a segue for Cook’s next remarks regarding TPA matters – that being Ferguson’s resignation on Dec. 4.
He wished him luck in his future endeavors, and extended sincere appreciation to the chief for his “devoted and dedicated service to Tawas City over the years.”
Staff and officials, on behalf of the residents, also gifted him with a weathervane. It features an etching of the Tawas City logo on one side, which reads, “Thank you for your service to our community, 1999-2020.” The TPA logo appears on the other side, along with, “Chief of Police, 2009-2020.”
Masich and Studley each complimented Ferguson on a job well done, and said they appreciate him staying on as long as he has to assist with the changeover.
Studley also recognized the other officers and the extra work they’re going to have to do throughout the transition, while continuing to take care of the citizens. He says he knows they will do a fantastic job.
As reported, Ferguson provided in June a notice of intent to resign. He stated that he would be stepping down by the end of the year, but ideally in the fall.
He recently submitted a formal letter of resignation to the TPA Board. A copy was also shared with officials ahead of the council meeting, during which he gave an update on the transition process.
Since a determination has yet to be made on the chief’s replacement, the TPA’s concept of operations note that the sergeant is to fill this role. So, Ferguson said that meetings have been ongoing to bring Sgt. Ryan Gartland up to speed on the day-to-day operations he will need to know. The meetings have involved Tawas City Manager and TPA Board Vice Chair/Operations Director, Annge Horning; East Tawas City Manager and TPA Board Chair, Brent Barringer; Ferguson; and Gartland.
In other TPA talks, Horning shared the latest details on the efforts of the Tawas City Police Department Exploration Committee, which was appointed on Oct. 19.
As reported, the group – comprised of Horning, Studley and Cook – was formed to look into the options for creating the municipality’s own department, should East Tawas go with either the Iosco County Sheriff’s Office (ICSO) for police services or some other avenue.
The two cities currently have a joint contract for the TPA. This August, East Tawas officials requested cost estimates from the ICSO, to provide dedicated police coverage in the communities.
While the Tawas City Council has already voted to not pursue this route – which will lead to the TPA dissolving – those in East Tawas are still collecting information to help guide their ultimate decision. Their council created a committee, as well, to dig deeper into the various options.
For her synopsis, Horning said the Tawas City panel has met a couple of times and is in the process of gathering various data. The committee will continue to provide a progress update at every council meeting, as long as the group is in existence.
She said they reached out to several communities and asked for their pay scale, and that she has also contacted an insurance agent to get some more accurate prices on what the liability and vehicle insurance would be. She received these figures shortly before the meeting, and the committee is still awaiting one community’s response regarding the wages. “But right now, if we were to have three full-time employees, it’s looking like we could do a department for about $350,000; which is $100,000 more than what we’re contributing right now.”
Therefore, Horning has sought information on a COPS Grant, to potentially help fund a portion of the wages. She has also reached out to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, for more details on a $50,000 grant which could help with vehicle and/or equipment purchases for a police department.
There are also low-interest loan options, with rates in the neighborhood of 1.45 percent.
Horning said she hoped the committee could convene again that week, in order to provide more of a report at the council’s Nov. 16 meeting. A summary of these talks will appear in next week’s edition of this publication.
She also said it was her understanding that the East Tawas committee was to meet on Nov. 10, and that they invited the Iosco County Board of Commissioners to attend. “So, hopefully they’ll have some more information for their council Monday night, as well.”
Studley, a TPA Board member, wondered if officials in the neighboring city had responded yet to an item he brought up at the board’s Nov. 2 meeting.
Should either community give notice to terminate the TPA, he had asked the East Tawas representatives on the board whether they would hold Tawas City to the full, 12-month notification, or if they would be willing to terminate the contract early.
Studley said this is just for Tawas City’s planning purposes, as they try to look at all of the things they need to do and what that time table might be. So, he requested that East Tawas have that discussion.
“We’re not asking to get out at this point,” he stressed, noting that he simply wanted to know if East Tawas would be willing to look at a different date.
“We’ll bring that question back to our council,” Barringer said at the time.
“Did we get an answer to that?” Studley asked at the Tawas City Council meeting.
Horning said no, but she believes that this was mentioned at an East Tawas City Council meeting, and that they were to revisit it at their next meeting. “Some of them had never even been posed with that question before, and they just said they wanted more information and, really, time to think about it.”
Horning said the reason Studley asked the question, is because the committee has discussed the need to hire a chief and build a department. “And it’s not something that we want to wait an entire year for. We want to start our department, if that’s the way that we’re going to go.”