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Two Wadena law enforcement officers awarded high honors

Photo by Steve Schulz Wadena Police Chief Bruce Uselman (far left) and Sheriff Mike Carr (far right) said they're very proud of the jobs both Officer Naomi Plautz (second from left) and Sheriff's Department Investigator Amy Ament (third from left) do on a daily basis.

A Wadena police officer and a Wadena County sheriff's investigator were honored May 4 with 2011 Leadership Awards from the Minnesota Association of Women Police.

Each year, MAWP recognizes police women who excelled at their professions. Deputy Amy Ament and Officer Naomi Plautz both served in the Emergency Operations Center with logistics and planning for about two weeks following the June 17 tornadoes that devastated the Wadena area and eastern Otter Tail County. Ament and Plautz were nominated by Wadena Police Chief Bruce Uselman and Wadena County Sheriff Mike Carr. In a joint news release, they said, "In this crucial role, [Ament and Plautz] assisted the incident commanders in their continued response in providing emergency services to the public in response to this disaster."

Plautz started as an officer with the Wadena Police Department in 1998 after short stints as a jail dispatcher and with the NET IV drug task force. Her primary duties are to help Sgt. Tom Crawford with investigations and patrol shifts.

Plautz lives west of Wadena and she said she was missed by only one-quarter mile by the Bluffton tornado that tore up the Highway 143 area. That area was also hit by straight-line winds in June 2005 when she and her husband moved there. The couple has four kids.

Ament worked at a jail while she attended college at Alexandria Tech in 2002, then joined the Wadena County Sheriff's Office in October 2004. Her duties include sex offender registration checks, adult and child protection cases, major thefts and burglaries, sex crimes, death investigations and "anything that needs in-depth follow-up," she said.

Ament recently gave birth to a baby boy, Ethan, on March 7, 2011. Up until the last minute, she was dedicated to her job.

"I went to work on the morning my water broke," she said with a laugh.

Ament's residence, too, was largely spared by the tornado damage. "I only lost a patio table," she said.

MAWP held its annual conference at Treasure Island Conference Center in Red Wing, Minn.