Appel presents new officers, life-saving award

Three Park Rapids Police Officers were sworn in before the city council on Jan. 24, and two received medals for saving a life last summer.

Police Chief Jeff Appel introduces three police officers - Kelli Seitz, Andrew McFarlane and Christian Zweerinck - who had not yet publicly taken the oath of honor during a Park Rapids City Council workshop on Jan. 24, 2023.
Robin Fish / Park Rapids Enterprise
We are part of The Trust Project.

Police Chief Jeff Appel introduced three new(ish) police officers to the Park Rapids City Council during a workshop on Jan. 24.

Appel noted that although they were hired and sworn between 2018 and 2022, there had never been an opportunity for the three to take the oath of honor in front of the city council until then, due to COVID-19 and other delays.

Officer Andrew McFarlane was hired on June 30, 2018, Appel reported. McFarlane grew up in the Moorhead area and holds an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in law enforcement from Alexandria Technical College and a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice from North Dakota State University, with a minor in psychology. He previously served as a law enforcement officer in Glyndon and Dilworth.

Police Officers Kelli Seitz, Andrew McFarlane and Christian Zweerinck repeat the oath of honor after City Clerk Berit Score during a Park Rapids City Council workshop on Jan. 24, 2023.
Robin Fish / Park Rapids Enterprise

Officer Kelli Seitz was hired on April 15, 2019. Seitz grew up in Bemidji, obtaining her AAS in law enforcement from Hibbing Community College and a BS in criminal justice from Bemidji State University, with a minor in addictions. Her job with the Park Rapids Police Department is her first law enforcement position.

Officer Christian Zweerinck was hired May 17, 2022. Zweerinck grew up in Frazee and holds an AAS in law enforcement from Alexandria Technical College. He previously worked with the Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office.


City Clerk Berit Score administered the Oath of Honor to the three officers. According to Appel’s report, the oath represents the trust between the community and a law enforcement officer.

Life-saving award

City Administrator Angel Weasner presented medals to two Park Rapids Police officers receiving a life-saving award.

Appel reported that on July 20, 2022, city police officers responded to a report of a patient who was unresponsive and not breathing. Upon arriving on the scene, they found the patient in a recliner with no signs of breathing. Family members had made no life-saving efforts.

Seitz took control of the scene, Appel said, directing family members to help her lower the patient onto the floor. After finding no pulse, Seitz started CPR.

City Administrator Angel Weasner presents life-saving award medals to Police Officer Kelli Seitz and Sgt. Mike Mercil during a Park Rapids City Council workshop on Jan. 24, 2023
Robin Fish / Park Rapids Enterprise

Shortly afterward, Sgt. Mike Mercil arrived and again found no pulse in the patient. He retrieved an automated external defibrillator (AED), which when applied to the patient, advised a shock. Mercil used the AED to deliver a shock to the patient. Officers resumed CPR until the AED advised another shock, which they delivered. The patient then showed signs of attempting to breathe, and officers detected a pulse.

Medical personnel then arrived, Appel said, and found the patient breathing on his own with an adequate heartbeat. The patient was transported by helicopter and later returned home after a short hospitalization.

“Quick actions and decisions made by Sgt. Mercil and Officer Seitz during this high-stress situation saved this patient’s life,” said Appel. “Both have earned a lifesaving award due to their actions on that night.”

The Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office and Park Rapids Police Department were joined by local first responders, the fire department, emergency medical services personnel and more.

Robin Fish is a staff reporter at the Park Rapids Enterprise. Contact him at or 218-252-3053.
What To Read Next
Contest winners are determined by judges from award-winning newspapers in other states.
Some members of the team set up the field and gave demonstrations at the Minnesota School Boards Association convention.
The administration is bringing back an Obama-era decision, later reversed by Trump, that bans new mineral leases on 225,500 acres of the Superior National Forest for the next two decades.
"The project is ill conceived, unjustified, goes totally against the will of the community and is doing significant damage,” Willis Mattison said in an interview.