Zumbrota officer honored twice in 'interesting' year
ZUMBROTA — Officer Rob Jarrett has done two things the past 14 months that Zumbrota Police Chief Gary Selness said he is glad he has never experienced in his 35-year law enforcement career.
Jarrett helped deliver twins — performing CPR on one of the lifeless babies and bringing her back to life — in October 2010.
Three months later, Jarrett saved a woman’s life when he fatally shot her husband in the couple’s driveway as the man fired at her.
"It’s very unfortunate he’s had these incidents back to back, but he’s very deserving of the recognition he has received," Selness said. "In both situations, he acted appropriately and did what he had to do."
Jarrett was honored last month by North Memorial Ambulance Service with a Public Safety Service Award of Honor for his actions on Jan. 31, 2011, that saved Rebecca Robinson’s life.
The young officer had escorted Robinson to her house to remove some of her belongings when her husband, 37-year-old Thomas Robinson, shot her several times outside the Lincoln Avenue residence.
Jarrett returned fire, fatally wounding Thomas Robinson. Rebecca Robinson was taken to the hospital with chest and abdomen wounds. A family member standing nearby when the shooting occurred was not injured.
"Even though it ended in a tragic situation where he had to kill the man, he saved the woman," said Nancy Sundberg, project coordinator for North Memorial’s awards program. "She was the innocent victim here."
Sundberg said a member of the awards selection committee read about Jarrett’s actions in a Twin Cities newspaper and decided he should be considered.
"Simply put, officer Rob Jarrett is a hero to all of us," Goodhue County Chief Deputy Lyle Lorenson said.
North Memorial Ambulance Service has been handing out public safety awards since 1984. This is the first time a law enforcement officer working in Goodhue County has been honored.
Lake City paramedic Mark Peters received an award of valor posthumously in 1996 from North Memorial. Peters was killed in a fiery 1995 ambulance crash.
"The award means a lot to me, and I am very honored," Jarrett said. "It feels very rewarding that my skills and training could be used to help someone else."
Jarrett was also honored by the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association earlier this year for helping deliver the twins.
Jarrett attributes his medical and law enforcement training for his ability to act quickly and save lives.
Jarrett said he's thankful for the recognition but that "there are calls and actions every day by my partners who deserve just as much recognition."
Selness said Jarrett has been modest, even as those around him call him a hero.
"He just kind of wants to put it in the past," Selness said. "It’s a tough thing to go through."
Goodhue County Sheriff Scott McNurlin said that "we train and prepare ourselves for situations like the one officer Jarrett faced that fateful evening with the hope that we never have to put that training to the test."
Jarrett acknowledges that the past 14 months have been unique. He said even officers in small, rural areas like Zumbrota must be prepared in case routine calls like property retrievals take a turn for the worse.
"My year has been very interesting, to say the least," Jarrett said. "Working in Zumbrota,
people would think that nothing happens. However, serious life-changing things happen to people everywhere, and I happened to be the officer on duty."