By Ralph Echtinaw
Police Chief Richard J. Ramereiz Jr. took the opportunity at Tuesday’s city council meeting to praise two officers and (surprisingly) the local librarian for their contribution to law enforcement in St. Louis.
Sgt. Kristi Forshee, 43, has been with the department full time since 2008 with a year of part-time work before that. As the department’s second in command, she is the chief investigator and detective for the department.
“Sgt. Forshee has been busting her butt a lot,” Ramereiz said. “We have a number of cases she’s working on; kind of an under-the-radar type of thing. She’s not on the front face of anything. She’s working on quite a few criminal sexual conduct cases. She has one that’s very extensive. There’s a lot of labor involved with it, doing search warrants for forensic data, cell phone data. The frustration of her trying to decipher data… None of us went into this career field for the technology side of it. And by the sheer time that we’re in we’re forced into that. (I’ve been) trying to help her out with stuff that’s way above her pay grade and mine as far as technology. She’s an unsung hero. She’s just really really dedicated to what she’s doing. She deserves a little kudos. If you see her out and about let her know it doesn’t go unrecognized.”
Forshee’s law enforcement experience includes a short stint with the Gratiot County Sheriff’s Office between her part time and full time work in St. Louis.
Drug recognition expert
Ramereiz also praised officer Ryan Bahlke, 32, who is one of two drug recognition experts (DRE) in Gratiot County. (The other being Sgt. Dury of the Alma police.) “The work that these two do helping guys on the road decide whether a person is operating under the influence of a controlled substance is where these guys really come into play,” Ramereiz said. “There’s more operating under the influence of a controlled substance, drugs or medication, now than there has been in the past, and that’s where these guys shine. When an officer has a person on the side of the road and something is affecting their ability to drive (and) it’s obviously not alcohol, that’s what these guys do. There’s a whole battery of tests they go through to determine if the person is or is not operating under the influence of a substance.” Ramereiz estimates that Bahlke does three or four DRE evaluations a month. “It may not seem like much, but each DRE evaluation is very in depth and time consuming.” Bahlke has been with St. Louis Police since January 2014. Before that he worked for the Mackinac Island Police Department.
Praise for the librarian
Although Librarian Jessica Little is no police officer, she has helped Ramereiz immensely with her computer skills. “I didn’t realize she has the expertise in technology that she does until we redid our web site,” Ramereiz said. “And I think she made the fatal mistake of saying she knew how to do something. I’ve been picking her brain quite a bit recently. She’s helping convert a lot of the forms that we use to PDF fillable so we we can just fill them right in. I don’t know how to do that stuff. And she’s a wiz at it. I’ve been tasking her with a little bit here and there. She’s been helping us do our part to be green and paperless.”