How Tosa Honored Its Officers for Action at Azana Spa
Medals, ribbons and individual citations recognize the self-sacrificing bravery and efficiency of Wauwatosa police in a dangerous, chaotic situation.
While 25 law officers from Wauwatosa and other departments were being recognized Thursday by Brookfield for their parts in the Oct. 21 shootings at Azana Salon and Spa, Tosa Chief Barry Weber mentioned that his department had already done so, privately.
But, he said, unlike Brookfield, which presented each officer with an identical Meritorious Service award in the form of a handsome plaque, Wauwatosa gave its own a variety of different awards based on what they performed.
The Medals of Valor, Life Saving Medals and Department Commendations each come with a bar that can be worn on the officer's uniform.
Here are the officers, in alphabetical order, their individual citations, and a note about their actions at Azana Spa:
Officer Ted Engelken – Recipient of the Medal of Valor and the Life Saving medal. Engelken repeatedly exposed himself to cover other officers as survivors were being rescued, was among the first inside Azana Spa, and among those who rescued women hiding on the second floor. He led two of those women to safety and returned to assist four more as they were brought down.
Sgt. Jeff Farina – Recipient of a Department Commendation and the Life Saving medal. Farina dropped his weapon and shield to sprint to the rescue of a wounded woman, pulled her into the back of a squad car and cradled her on the way to medical triage. When he returned to the spa, he took over incident command during the height of the operation until relieved by a Brookfield captain.
Detective Dave Hoppe – Recipient of a Department Commendation. Hoppe was one of four Tosa officers who arrived at Azana Spa with only a pistol and, in his case, "the department's oldest, most frayed ballistic vest," according to Capt. Jeff Sutter. Nevertheless, Hoppe, a longtime plainclothes officer, rushed in and provided close cover on the spa's spiral staircase while survivors were being rescued from the upper floor.
Officer Pat Kaine – Recipient of a Department Commendation. Called all the way from East Tosa, with the farthest to go, Kaine nevertheless responded to a call that more officers were needed inside the spa. He went in and assisted other officers, also providing cover during the rescues and the wait for Special Response officers to arrive.
Lt. Jim Mastrocola – Recipient of a Letter of Appreciation. Mastrocola, the shift supervisor that day, coordinated Wauwatosa's response, ensuring a powerful presence to aid Brookfield without leaving Wauwatosa at risk. Mastrocola also called up the Wauwatosa Special Response Team, which backed up the Lake Country unit.
Officer Gary Raymond – Recipient of the Medal of Valor. Motorcycle Officer Raymond's exploits were prodigious, from the moment he arrived until finally relieved on the second floor of Azana Spa two hours later. He commandeered a Brookfield tactical SUV, drove it as moving cover for a mixed squad of Tosa and Brookfield officers practically to the door of the spa, then drove it as a medical evacuation unit and finally was among the makeshift squad that was first up the spa stairway – all while armed only with his service pistol.
Detective Paula Roberson – Recipient of a Department Commendation and the Life Saving medal. Roberson, like Hoppe a plainclothes cop with a pistol and an old vest, nevertheless repeatedly exposed herself while aiding and covering other officers during the rescue mission. She ran into the open to help Farina carry a wounded woman to safety, made repeated trips to the spa to deliver shields, and finally delivered the bolt cutters that let officers inside get to and shut down the sprinklers and alarms that were creating havoc in Azana Spa.
Officer Randy Simon – Recipient of the Medal of Valor and Life Saving medal. Motorcyle Officer Simon, like others arriving underarmed and under-armored with only a pistol and vest, was among the first officers into Azana Spa and among those who went on the rescue mission upstairs. Simon recalled in his report plundering the Brookfield tactical SUV looking for a "long gun" but didn't find one. He did come away with a ballistic shield, though, and plunged into the fray with pistol drawn.
Officer (now Sgt.) Luke Vetter – Recipient of the Medal of Valor and Life Saving medal. Vetter arrived at Blue Mound and Moorland roads thinking the crisis was at Brookfield Square Mall, based on an erroneous report, and immediately blocked off the intersection. But almost instantly he heard the call to Azana Spa, responded, and joined the impromptu squad in the second floor rescue operation, replacing Engelken and helping to rescue the last four women in the spa who were hiding in the "Peace" massage therapy room.
Sgt. Brian Zalewski – Recipient of the Medal of Valor and Life Saving medal. Zalewski, like Farina, pulled rank by dropping arms and armor and running into the open to carry a terribly wounded woman to safety as she was on the point of collapse. Her wounds were critical and the quick response in getting her to medical attention is credited with probably saving her life. Zalewski, however, wasn't done. He too was part of the makeup squad that took the initiative to rescue the six women trapped upstairs.