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Former county dispatcher faces criminal charges

By Staff | Sep 23, 2012

Nearly three months following a criminal investigation by an Albert Lea police officer, a former Faribault County dispatcher/jailer and a 22-year-old Blue Earth man have been charged.

Todd Allan Heenan of Blue Earth, who was fired in June for his handling of a 911 call, faces charges of misconduct of a public officer and obstructing legal process.

The maximum penalty for the misconduct charge is one year in jail and a $3,000 fine, while the obstruction count carries 90 days and a $1,000 fine.

Assistant County Attorney LaMar Piper says it took a long time to file charges because of the significant amount of information contained in the report.

“I’d say there was 75 to 100 pages of information I went through,” he says. “The case wasn’t a priority mostly because he (Heenan) had already left his employment and there was no worry or concern about a breakdown in procedure being a repeat.”

In a court complaint, the 42-year-old Heenan was working as a dispatcher on April 24 when he answered a 911 call reporting a fight at the Kwik Trip parking lot in Blue Earth.

Heenan is accused of failing to log the call as an assault and waited several minutes before contacting a Blue Earth officer on duty.

“The defendant (Heenan) knowing or believing the assault involved his son and the son’s friend reported the fight as a harassment complaint and they were the victims,” say court papers.

The 911 call came in around 7:17 p.m., however, Heenan does not call a police officer until nearly eight minutes later.

The complaint says Heenan spoke with his son and his friend, Caleb Nowak, several times by cell phone before calling police.

An investigation by Albert Lea police shows Heenan’s son called him minutes after he and Nowak reportedly assaulted a male juvenile.

The 22-year-old Nowak faces one count of fifth-degree assault, carrying a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

He also was charged with third-degree damage to property, causing more than $900 in damages to the juvenile’s pickup truck.

According to police reports, Nowak and the younger Heenan got into a confrontation with the juvenile.

Nowak reportedly held the boy down to the ground, while Heenan punched him with his fist.

The boy sustained scrapes and a black eye, says the complaint.