The Columbia Heights Police Department recognized Robert Shanowat at the Hilltop City Council meeting on Jan. 7 for his assistance on June 21, 2012, when he witnessed a burglary in progress.
He called 911, stating that he observed a suspect enter a residence. He maintained contact with Anoka County Dispatch and provided updates that included actions of the suspect, when he left and a description of the vehicle. He also updated Columbia Heights Police when they arrived and advised them that the residence had been set on fire.
If Shanowat had not called the police, it is possible the suspect would not have been apprehended and the fire would have been much worse. The incident ended with the apprehension of the suspect and no significant harm to the victims or further damage to the residence.
“The Columbia Heights Police Department counts on citizen involvement, such as that demonstrated by Mr. Shanowat, as an integral part of our crime fighting strategy,” said Columbia Heights Police Chief Nadeau. “We appreciate and applaud his efforts, which helped to protect property and bring a felon to justice.”
Because of Shanowat’s assistance to the Columbia Heights Police Department, he received the Citizen’s Award of Commendation.
Capt. Lenny Austin said it is the first Citizen’s Award of Commendation that the department has given since the awards recognition program began a couple years ago.
“One thing that I really appreciated in this situation is that he was willing to get involved and do his part to keep the community safe,” Austin said of Shanowat. “If it wasn’t for his willingness to get involved, this particular crime would have been very difficult to solve, and some people could have been seriously injured or worse. It was nice of him to really step in and make that call, stay on the line and help direct officers to apprehend the suspect.”
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