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FDPD evidence technician plays key role in making city safer

Weinzetl honored with Hometown Hero Award

Forget that CSI stuff on television. The real way of processing crime scenes and preserving evidence is demonstrated on a regular basis by Brandi Weinzetl of the Fort Dodge Police Department.

Weinzetl, who has been the department’s evidence technician since 2014, was recently honored with the Hometown Hero Award by Serving Our Servants, a Fort Dodge group dedicated to supporting law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency medical personnel.

Her expertise has been recognized by police officers for years. She’s processed between 50 and 100 crime scenes. Undoubtedly, the toughest of all of those scenes was the one she responded to on Oct. 2, 2019, when the Rev. Al Henderson, the Police Department’s chaplain and the founder of Serving Our Servants, was killed. Her professionalism that day prompted the organization to present her with the Hometown Hero Award.

Weinzetl told The Messenger she was ”shocked” by the award.

”I felt very honored that supervisors and coworkers even considered or thought about me like that,” she said.

Processing the scene of Henderson’s death may well have been the toughest challenge of Weinzetl’s career so far. Her professionalism that day is worthy of recognition, but she has done much more that also merits honors.

In 2014, she switched from being a 911 dispatcher to become the Police Department’s first evidence technician. Since then, she has redefined the role. Initially, much of her job consisted of cataloging and preserving evidence collected by others. Then she completed additional training so that she could go to crime scenes and collect the evidence herself. Now, she’s on the scene of serious crimes, taking photographs, collecting spent shell casings and generally processing needed evidence.

Her work helps build the criminal cases that put the bad guys away, making Fort Dodge a safer place. We should all be thankful for that.

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