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Officers commended for their role in stand-off

Park Rapids Police Chief Terry Eilers, center, presents letters of commendation to officers Scott Parks, Carrie Parks, Craig Kritzeck and Michael Mercil at the Park Rapids City Council meeting Jan. 12. The city council also commended Eilers for the leadership he demonstrated during the incident. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

Four Park Rapids police officers, along with the chief, were commended for their work during a Dec. 16 incident involving a standoff.

Park Rapids police chief Terry Eilers presented letters of commendation to four of his officers at the Park Rapids City Council meeting Jan. 12.

He said that officers Michael Mercil and Craig Kritzeck were dispatched to Lake Avenue in Park Rapids for a report of a fight and shots fired. Upon arrival, they were backed up by Hubbard County deputy Greg Swanstrom.

The officers were confronted by armed suspects, heard gunshots inside the residence and found a wounded subject near the front door, Eilers said. Officer Kritzeck was able to bring the victim to a safe place and provide cover while ambulance personnel attended to the gunshot victim.

Officers were then able to set up a secure perimeter to protect the public from further harm. Numerous times during this four hour standoff, these officers were confronted by two armed suspects. Through training and professional experience, they were able to bring this situation to a safe ending for all involved, he said.

Officer Kritzeck, officer Mercil and deputy Swanstrom acted professionally and without regard for their own safety at times for the betterment of the citizens of Park Rapids, the letter said.

Officers Scott Parks and Carrie Parks were also called in to assist with the two armed suspects within the city of Park Rapids.

While the perimeter was being established at Lake Avenue and Todd Street, the officers were confronted by the armed suspect who was pointing a gun and making personal threats, Eilers said. Both officers not only had to deal with the suspect but also with family members who had gathered at that intersection. Officers Scott Parks and Carrie Parks acted professionally and without regard for their own safety at times, he added.

"The best thing out of this whole thing was that the bad guys went to jail and the good guys got to all go home," Eilers said. "I believe that because of our training and because of the assistance we had from these other officers, no one was injured."

Mayor Nancy Carroll also presented Eilers with a certificate commending him and the police department for a successful end to the incident Dec. 16.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
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