At the April Breezy Point City Council meeting, I had the distinct honor of handing out a Life Saving Award to Officer Jay Lorch. The award was recommended by Breezy Point Police Chief Kevin Merschman, who submitted the following about Officer Lorch:

"On February 27, Officer Lorch responded to the report of a man in cardiac arrest. On his arrival, family had begun hands only CPR. Jay was joined by the North Crow Wing First Response team members Tom Johnson and Ryan Franz, Pequot police officer and part-time Breezy Point officer Matt Jorgens and North Ambulance personnel. A pulse and spontaneous respirations were established and the patient was flown via Aircare to St. Cloud Hospital where he recovered. His wife reported that the doctors were amazed he had survived to reach the hospital because he had a massive heart attack requiring five stents."

This was not the first Life Saving award I have handed out, nor do I expect that it will be my last. Breezy Point is very unique amongst small cities in the quality of its emergency medical response.

In 2015, the Breezy Point police were selected by the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota to receive the 2015 Local Government Innovation Award for its police paramedic program. A panel of judges considered nearly 80 submissions for their creativity, sustainability and collaboration across four categories: cities, counties, schools and townships.

As a small agency with only six full-time officers, the city of Breezy Point is partnered with North Memorial Ambulance Service, making it a one-of-a-kind public/private partnership. North Memorial Ambulance Service provides medical direction, equipment and supplies to the city at no cost. This unique partnership allows for paramedic trained officers to be available to respond to medicals in areas that have extended response times.

The program consists of the department employing police officers who are certified as paramedics, while North Memorial provides the necessary equipment and medical control. The benefit is the police officers' and paramedics' ability to administer advanced emergency care, not just basic first aid.

The lifesaving skills provided by these highly trained officers include administering several medications, intravenous therapy, endotracheal intubation, cardiac monitoring and defibrillation. When a call for help is received, police paramedics are dispatched immediately and are able to begin advanced life support procedures within minutes, long before the ambulance arrives.

In many cases this rapid response allows the patient to be within the "golden five" window where lifesaving treatment is obtained within five minutes of a call being received and therefore provides the greatest chance of recovery.

"All of our officers do extraordinary things in the service of Breezy Point and Pelican Township communities, each and every day," said Merschman. "Our paramedic officers are uniquely skilled and equipped to deliver lifesaving advanced medical care when seconds count. We are fortunate to have the support of the city council and North Memorial Ambulance Service that make this service possible."

To plagiarize a phrase from "Minnesota Hospital," the tongue-in-cheek soap opera spoof of years ago by Boon and Erickson on WCCO radio, "Breezy Point is a good place to get sick."

Having the police paramedic program and the North Crow Wing County First Responders backed up with the North Memorial Ambulance Service makes us very blessed to be living here.

As always, I will be in city hall every Wednesday from 8 a.m. to noon to answer questions and concerns or to just talk on any topic and enjoy a cup of coffee. Also don't forget to see the Breezy Point website,, and the city of Breezy Point Facebook page for additional information on times and other events happening this summer.