Police Dept., Town of Lovell, honor police officer for valiant actions

By David Peck

For the second time in a seven-month period, a Lovell police officer has been honored with the prestigious Lovell Police Department Lifesaver Award.

Chief of Police Dan Laffin and Mayor Tom Newman presented the award to Officer Dusty Schultz at Tuesday night’s Lovell Town Council meeting for his actions on March 4 to save an 8-year-old boy from a burning home.

“This was a significant event,” Chief Laffin said. “Some law enforcement officers go their whole career without being placed in a situation to earn this award, and this is our second award (in a few months).”

Laffin said that, on the early morning of Friday, March 4, Officer Shultz and Deputy Jeff Angell of the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office were on duty when a 911 call came in to the Lovell Dispatch Center at 1:22 a.m. from what Laffin described as “a completely panicked person” asking for fire and ambulance response for a home “by the Laundromat.”

Schultz and Angell were in the Big Horn County Annex in Lovell and heard the call come in, then immediately responded, and although the caller didn’t provide an exact address, Laffin noted that a house fire at that time of night wasn’t hard to find.

“The house was fully engulfed, with 15-foot flames,” Laffin said, and he added that, during the 911 call the dispatcher could hear someone calling for a child inside the house.

“It was a horrific situation,” he said.

“Most of the family had escaped, but in the chaos, an 8-year-old boy, Connor, did not make it out of the home,” the Lifesaver Award explains. “Officer Schultz could hear the faint cries of the child inside.”

Both Schultz and Angell were circling the house calling out and listening for Connor at each window when they heard the screams of the boy inside.

As the award explains, Officer Schultz (and Deputy Angell) “broke out a window and managed to coach Connor to the window.” The officers reached inside the window and pulled Connor from the home, saving his life.

Timing was critical, Lovell Volunteer Fire Dept. assistant chief Bob Mangus said that week. When firemen arrived at 1:26 a.m., Schultz and Angell were already pulling the boy to safety.

“We would have been at least another five minutes to get the fire down,” Mangus told the Lovell Chronicle that week. “We would have had to go through the fire to get to the little boy. There’s no doubt those officers saved that boy’s life.”

After being checked out at North Big Horn Hospital, his lungs damaged from the smoke, Connor was flown to a burn center in Denver. He has since been released, and although he is receiving breathing treatments and is using a nebulizer, he is expected to make a full recovery, Laffin said.

“Officer Schultz’s actions and conduct that fateful day represent the very best of law enforcement and are a testament to his exceptional performance of duty,” the award certificate states. “Officer Schultz’s actions bring great credit upon himself, the Lovell Police Department and the entire first responder community.”

After receiving the medal from Mayor Newman, Officer Schultz was humble as he spoke to the assembled officers and family members present at the Lovell Community Center.

“In a situation like that, all of our officers would have done the same thing,” he said. “We have a great department, and everyone cares. They all have performed exceptionally. It was just my turn, my call. It happened to be my shift.

“Connor – he’s the reason he’s alive. He fought. He went to the window.”

Visibly moved, Mayor Newman said the actions of Schultz and Angell prevented another community tragedy.

“This came on the heels of our community losing two children (Peiton and Phoenix Hackenberg),” Newman said. “The community couldn’t bear losing another child.

“I’m grateful for what you do so we can sleep at 1:20 in the morning.”

The previous Lovell Police Department Lifesaver Award was presented to Officer Shantel Stahl in September of 2021 after her rapid response to a 911 call and her quick administration of CPR saved the
life of heart attack victim Tim Cahill at his home on June 16.