Prairie Village police honor four officers and dispatcher for work in Weltner Park gun incident last summer

Police Chief Tim Schwartzkopf praises the performance of four of his officers and a dispatcher to the Prairie Village City Council.
Police Chief Tim Schwartzkopf praises the performance of four of his officers and a dispatcher to the Prairie Village City Council.

Four Prairie Village police officers and a dispatcher were honored for their work in connection with an incident last August involving an armed man at Weltner Park.

Officers Louis Curtis, Dillon Hronek, Brad Machiela and Corp. Joel Porter, and dispatcher Mackenzie Parker received Supervisory Recognition Awards from Police Chief Tim Schwartzkopf during the Prairie Village City Council meeting.

“Prairie Village Police Department officers and our dispatcher were patient, calm and professional, and their actions contributed to a positive and peaceful resolution of this incident,” Schwartzkopf said.

The Aug. 21 incident at Weltner Park began when two men playing basketball got into an altercation and pulled handguns. It had been a quiet Sunday evening and bystanders, including families with young children, fled the park in alarm.

“Dispatcher Mackenzie Parker received a 911 call of an armed disturbance at Weltner Park,” Schwartzkopf said. “The caller was very animated and was requesting police immediately.

“Officer Brad Machiela was first to arrive and observed an individual matching the suspect description in the Hy-Vee gas parking lot.”

Schwartzkopf said the man refused to obey Machiela’s orders, and when Corp. Porter arrived, the man ignored him too. The situation became more tense when the third officer, Curtis, saw the man had a gun in his pocket.

“Officer Dillon Hronek arrived and retrieved his rifle from his patrol car to provide additional cover for officers on the scene,” Schwartzkopf said.

Porter, a trained negotiator, then began negotiations with the man that lasted 45 minutes.

“During this time,” Schwartzkopf said, “a large crowd was gathering with some of the rhetoric not very favorable to law enforcement. All officers maintained the utmost professionalism with everyone on the scene.

“Ultimately, the man complied with officers’ requests and he was taken into custody without incident. A loaded handgun was removed from his pocket.”

At the time, police reported that the man was briefly detained, but no arrest was made because of the new Kansas law that allows people to carry concealed weapons if they are legally entitled. The other armed man involved had fled before police arrived.

Before presenting the award to the five, Schwartzkopf told the City Council they were “another example of police officers “rising to the occasion and responding professionally to a highly volatile and dynamic situation.

“I believe the way our staff handled this incident is why the confidence in law enforcement is high.”