The record snowfall on Thursday, Feb. 11, was an out-of-the-ordinary event for North Texas residents. But, the Argyle Police Department’s (APD) officers not only handled the weather; they took on the role of guardian “snow angels.”
“We make it a point to expand on our regular patrol routes during bad weather just to make sure nobody’s off in the ditch or in trouble in an area where there isn’t a lot of traffic,” said APD Capt. Temple Cottle.
It was during his early-morning patrol that officer Danny Rounsavall saw something unusual through the near-whiteout snow conditions; a car stuck on the train tracks. When he investigated the situation, he discovered that the driver, Rowlett resident Rosemary Katzen, 75, said she thought she was turning into her driveway and would not leave her car.
Rounsavall learned that Katzen has a history of dementia, diabetes and hypertension and that the Rowlett Police Department had issued a Silver Alert (a missing elderly alert similar to the Amber Alert for missing children). She had last been seen on Wednesday evening in northern Dallas traveling along Northwest Highway. Her 50-mile odyssey from Rowlett had ended after midnight on the Argyle train tracks in a heavy snowfall, with a train scheduled to arrive shortly at that crossing.
Rounsavall was able to initiate contact to stop the train five minutes before its arrival in Argyle and to finally coax Katzen from her car.
“Officer Rounsavall’s action averted what could’ve been a bad outcome,” said APD Police Chief William Tackett. “He demonstrated Argyle’s Core Values and was awarded the first “Argyle Commitment” coin for his actions.”
“The Argyle Commitment,” outlining town staff core values standard of service and commitment to the citizens of Argyle, was adopted by the Town Council on Feb. 24, 2009. The seven core values include service, integrity, leadership, teamwork, communication, continuous improvement and professionalism.
Tackett’s commendation to Rounsavall read: “I want to thank you for the outstanding job you did this morning rescuing Mrs. Katzen from the rail crossing. Your quick thinking in getting the trains stopped and your compassion in getting her to a safe place to be reunited with her family is to be commended. Your level of service and professionalism is certainly reflective of our town’s core values. Thank you.”
A young military family driving a rented U-Haul truck from Indiana to Ft. Hood also was rescued by an Argyle “snow angel.”
“By the time I arrived, they’d been sitting in the broken-down U-Hall truck for about four hours,” said Cottle. “The couple had their 18-month-old with them and they’re expecting another child. They were pretty worried and didn’t know the area or where to go. Most of the motels were already full because of the snow, but I found a room at the Motel 6 in Northlake and even got them a reduced rate. As a military family, they didn’t have any extra money to spend.”
Tackett said that while bad weather may cause the APD to go “a little bit above and beyond” their normal performance level, the nine officers covering Argyle’s 12 square miles just take it in stride.
“When I joined the Argyle force in 1992, there were only about 1,200 residents,” said Tackett. “As the population has grown, so has our dedication. We answer about 2,000 service calls a year and we’re glad to take care of those needing help; whether it’s for our own residents or people just passing through.”
Pictured above (L to R): Argyle Police Officer Danny Rounsavall, Chief William Tackett and Capt. Temple Cottle. Photo by Bill Castleman