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April 2018

Troopers Zachary Borchardt and Nate Walton

Minnesota State Patrol

Washington, DC—The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund has named Troopers Zachary Borchardt and Nate Walton, of the Minnesota State Patrol, as the recipients of its Officer of the Month Award for April 2018.

In the evening of March 3, 2016, the Minnesota State Patrol received a call from a woman who said her ex-boyfriend was upset, likely impaired and threatening to commit suicide on I-90, which runs through the southern part of the state. After receiving a description of the man’s vehicle, Trooper Nate Walton located the subject and attempted to pull the car over. Instead, the driver drove off at a high speed. Trooper Zachary Borchardt was heading eastbound when he came upon the situation and turned around to assist.

Two miles down the road, the driver veered off the road, seemingly in an intentional act to hit a guardrail, but missed it. Instead, he continued through a ditch and into the Blue Earth River. The river was covered with a thin layer of ice and the car broke through, sinking into the 20-degree water.

Troopers Walton and Borchardt exited their patrol cars, removed their Tasers and radios, donned their department-issued life jackets and waded out to the vehicle, which had become submerged. The driver was lethargic, with water up to his chest. Trooper Borchardt was able to smash the driver’s side window, remove the seatbelt and help the driver out of the vehicle. Both troopers worked to pull the driver to shore in the ice-cold water. The troopers wrapped the man in a blanket and put him in the backseat of the heated squad car until medics arrived. The driver survived the ordeal.

Both troopers went home after jumping into the icy river to shower and change before returning to their shifts. As Trooper Borchardt processed the driver for driving while impaired, Trooper Walton assisted in a high-risk traffic stop on his way back to the river scene for evidence photos and to have the vehicle towed.

“Troopers Borchardt and Walton performed with excellence and humbly went back to their shifts, never wavering from any sense of duty – all while demonstrating the troopers’ core values,” said Minnesota State Patrol Captain Jeremy Geiger.

“Every day there are many stories of law enforcement officers putting their lives at risk to save those they are sworn to protect,” Memorial Fund Chief Executive Officer Craig W. Floyd said. “We know this gentleman is alive today only because of the quick thinking and life-saving skills of Troopers Borchardt and Walton. We are honored to be awarding these officers with the Memorial Fund’s Officer of the Month Award for April 2018.”

Located in the nation’s capital, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of America’s law enforcement officers. The Memorial Fund’s Officer of the Month Award Program began in 1996 and recognizes federal, state, and local officers who distinguish themselves through exemplary law enforcement service and devotion to duty.

Troopers Borchardt and Walton, along with the other Officer of the Month Award recipients for 2018, will be honored at a special awards ceremony in Washington, DC, in 2019.

Police Unity Tour The Police Unity Tour is the official sponsor of the Memorial Fund's Officer of the Month Program.