On November 29, 2016 at about 4:36 AM, officers and deputies were advised by dispatch of a vehicle travelling the wrong way on Highway 20, coming into Black Hawk County from Grundy County. Of his own volition, Waterloo Police Officer Mark Nissen responded to the area of Highway 20 in an attempt to locate the reported eastbound vehicle. Officer Nissen got onto Highway 20, travelling westbound. In doing so, he came upon and passed another westbound vehicle. Seconds later Officer Nissen observes the reported vehicle coming toward him. The suspect vehicle is in the outside lane of the four-lane highway. Officer Nissen is also in the outside lane. Officer Nissen’s emergency lights are activated. The distance between the suspect vehicle and Officer Nissen’s marked squad car is closing rapidly. A mere 100 yards separates them. The suspect vehicle moves into the inside lane. The vehicle that Officer Nissen just passed is still coming behind him. Yet other traffic is behind that vehicle. Officer Nissen activates his siren, moves into the inside lane, and stops his squad car. Seconds later the suspect vehicle smashes head-on into Officer Nissen’s squad car. Officer Nissen advises dispatch that he has been struck by the suspect vehicle. It is apparent by his transmission that he is injured and in pain. He request an ambulance. He exits his squad car and approaches the two occupants of the suspect vehicle. He directs them from the vehicle, inquiring if they are injured . He then guides them to a safe place behind their vehicle, protecting them from passing vehicles on the highway. The driver of the suspect vehicle was ultimately arrested for driving while intoxicated. I was later contacted by a person who was in one of the westbound vehicles that had been shielded by Officer Nissen in his squad car. The person commented that he felt Officer Nissen was beyond being a hero, for if Officer Nissen had not done what he did in stopping the suspect vehicle this person would have been one of the next vehicles meeting the suspect vehicle. Officer Nissen’s actions are in the highest tradition of the Waterloo Police Department. His valor is a shining example for all.
Officer Mark Nissen will be presented this award at a Medal of Valor ceremony being held at the Waterloo Council Chambers on December 14th, 2016 at 4:30 P.M.
Chief of Police