Ely welcomes new cops, hails life-saving work of a veteran

Deinhammer, Lorenz, Ward recognized during city council meeting

by Tom Coombe
For all the right reasons, the Ely Police Department took center stage Tuesday night at City Hall.
Officer Christian Deinhammer was saluted for his life-saving role on an emergency call last October, while the department also swore in a pair of new members- assistant chief Mike Lorenz and Zach Ward.
The recognition and ceremonies came prior to the start of Tuesday’s regular council meeting.
And in addition to council members and city staff, there was a much larger crowd than usual in the chambers with family members of all three officers as well as the rest of Ely’s department and some local emergency responders in attendance.
Deinhammer was hailed by Ely police chief Chad Houde, who was emotional at times as he explained how his colleague stepped in and saved the life on an individual who was suffering from an opioid overdose.
“Because of his quick response, without question it is the reason this person is alive,” Houde told council members. “He exemplifies the finest qualities and attributes of a peace officer. He is a true hero and I’m proud to have him as a member of our department.”
Houde went into detail about Deinhammer’s response as police and emergency personnel reported to a medical emergency last fall.
An unconscious patient was located on the top floor of a residence, and Houde said Deinhammer’s training took hold.
“He made a quick determination that the patient was suffering for an opioid involved overdose” said Houde.
Deinhammer quickly administered Narcan, a drug used for treatment of a suspected or known opioid emergency, and a second dose helped the patient regain a pulse.
Houde said that Deinhammer stayed “fiercely involved” in treating the patient and after a fourth dose of Narcan the individual regained consciousness.
“Throughout the entire incident office Deinhammer remained cool and calm under pressure,” said Houde.
Deinhammer was aided at the scene by Ely area ambulance personnel Dusty Moravitz and Rhonda Prahl, Ely first responders including John Zobitz as well as current assistant police chief Lorenz, who at the time was still working as a St. Louis County deputy.
“We have more than one hero but this is the star of the show,” said Houde.
Deinhamer was presented with a letter of recognition that will be placed in his permanent file and he won the praise of city officials including mayor Roger Skraba.
“What you did, in your mind you did your job but you stepped above the normal,” said Skraba.
Deinhammer said “I want to say thank you for giving me the opportunity to work here, and the training I received that helped me perform my duties that day.”
Also Tuesday, the department formally welcomed its newest members - Lorenz and Ward.
Lorenz hails from Hibbing and “comes from a law enforcement family,” Houde said.
For the last 10 years, he was a deputy with St. Louis County and stationed in Ely.
“He is very familiar with the Ely area and our department,” said Houde.
Lorenz also has worked as a police officer in both Chisholm and Eveleth.
Ward is the newest member of the Ely department but quite familiar with the community.
After graduating from Dover-Eyota in southern Minnesota, Ward came to Ely, where he graduated from Vermilion Community College.
He completed law enforcement skills training in the fall of 2019 and jumped at the chance to return to Ely.
“He was drawn to Ely for its endless recreation opportunities and he’s also an avid outdoorsman,” said Houde.
Ward has an assortment of interests including fishing, hunting, snowboarding and golfing.
“Both Mike and Zach are great additions to our community and our department,” said Houde.