University police honor top cops, swear in 3 new officers

One officer was praised for pulling a man from a river.

Raya Zimmerman

Not many police officers have saved a belligerent drunk man from a river during a thunderstorm.

University of Minnesota police officer Geoff Maciejewski was awarded the University of Minnesota Police DepartmentâÄôs Medal of Merit on Wednesday for saving a suicidal drunk man clinging to a retaining wall along the Mississippi River at Polish Fest on St. Anthony Main earlier this month.

The man punched Maciejewski in the face and was swept 80 feet downriver before Maciejewski caught up with him at a fence, where he cut through locks and pulled the man, who was floating face down, to shore. MaciejewskiâÄôs “unselfish bravery” saved the manâÄôs life, University police Chief Greg Hestness said.

The UMPDâÄôs award and swearing in ceremony Wednesday recognized several officersâÄô outstanding performances and acknowledged three new officers.

Jessica McDonough was also awarded the Medal of Merit, which is given to officers who risk their lives or safety for the general public. On Halloween last year, she placed herself and her horse in front of a car that was driving recklessly in order to protect pedestrians on the sidewalks in front of fraternity row.

There were 99 applicants for the three positions that were open. Forty-two applicants passed the agility and strength test, 30 went on to the preliminary interview panel and seven were screened for the background and credit check, which was “pretty extensive,” Hestness said.

The remaining three who met all of the requirements were Jonas Hanggi, Kong Moua and Brent Solei. Next, they must partake in a rigorous field-training program.

The new officers must have “trust and confidence in the public âĦ and demonstrate skills and character” to be a part of the UMPD, Hestness said. They are held to high standards, as the department serves one of the largest universities in the nation. The officers oversee roughly 51,000 students and more than 270 campus buildings. Thirty percent of their cases are handled off-campus.

Solei, one of the inductees, worked for the Anoka Police Department at the Anoka Metro Regional Treatment Center for two years.

“I went to school here and know what itâÄôs like to be a college student.” Solei said. “I love being on campus, and I love the atmosphere.”