On October 9, 2023, during a City Council meeting, five officers from the Snoqualmie Police Department (SPD) received merit awards. Their prompt and decisive actions were crucial in safeguarding the lives of several residents of the Snoqualmie Valley.
Interim SPD Chief Brian Lynch stated during the award ceremony, “A failure to act or actions delayed could have led to a tragic outcome.” He continued, “It is clear on these days, these officers went above and beyond their normal police duties, and because they did, tragedies were averted.”
The brave members of the Snoqualmie Police Department include:
Officers Chase Smith and Sgt. Jason Weiss:
In May 2021, these officers, on two consecutive days, courageously assisted two individuals at Sandy Cove Park’s Snoqualmie River. Both residents had gone into the water to fetch their dogs and found themselves at risk of being carried away. Ofc. Smith and Sgt. Weiss, in collaboration with the Snoqualmie Fire Department, ensured both residents and their dogs were safely rescued from potential drowning.
Sergeant Nigel Draveling and Detective Were:
In an incident from April 2020, the duo responded to a robbery reported theft at the Salish Lodge. The suspect, attempting to escape, reached the Snoqualmie River bridge and considered taking his own life. Through rapid and effective communication, Sgt. Draveling and Det. Werre were able to detain the suspect before he could inflict harm upon himself. Remarkably, the individual expressed gratitude to the officers even while being taken into custody.
Officer Chase Smith:
Officer Smith, in November 2020, swiftly acted upon reaching a business in North Bend. His alertness and the timely administration of CPR saved a man who had suddenly collapsed.
Officer Austin Gutwein:
In January 2020, Ofc. Gutwein rushed to a restaurant in North Bend. His immediate actions and successful CPR saved a man who was choking.
In reflecting on the valor of the officers, Interim Chief Lynch remarked, “Most days we go to work hoping we can make a difference, but many of those days we are left feeling like all we did was witness the worst in people.” He poignantly added, “Then there are days like these officers experienced where they absolutely know they saved a life. On behalf of a grateful community, I say thank you to each of these outstanding officers.”
[Featured image L to R: Int. Chief Lynch, Ofc. Smith, Ofc. Gutwein, Sgt. Weiss, Mayor Ross. (Not pictured: Sgt. Draveling and Det. Werre)]