Appleton Police Department makes policy change to medical calls

Local News

APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) On Thursday, Outagamie County District Attorney Melinda Tempelis and the Appleton Police Department released more details into the shooting last month that tragically took the life of firefighter Mitch Lundgaard.

On Local 5 This Morning, Chief Todd Thomas credited his two officers involved for their quick actions that prevented further injuries – Officer Paul Christenson and Sgt. Christopher Biese. The DA said no charges would be filed against them.  

Chief Thomas said due to the situation, his department has already made changes in the way they respond to medical calls. Thomas said his officers now have the option to place the suspect in handcuffs before first responders administer aide, should they feel it’s necessary.

“This is going to change they way we do business,” Thomas said. “Not only in the state, but probably nationally. It’s going to create more discussion.” 

It all began when the suspect, Ruben Houston, was given Narcan after experiencing signs of an opioid overdose. 

Houston’s first dose of Narcan allowed his breathing to become more normal. The second dose allowed him to wake up and be more alert. Tempelis says Houston told officers he had taken some of his wife’s morphin. 

Houston reportedly did not want to go to a hospital because he wanted to go home to Wausau to see his wife and pay his rent, according to Tempelis. 

Shortly after, Houston reportedly emptied some items from his pockets, but continued to refuse a pat down from an officer. That’s when he eventually backed up, pulled out a small gun, and fired shots. 

To watch Chief Thomas’ full Community Update, click the link above. 

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