From Flight Attendant Becomes St. Paul Officer of the Year

Prior to policing the streets of St. Paul, Brianna Kisch competed in international martial arts tournaments while working as a flight attendant.

It took her a while to figure out how to join the police.

Kisch has been a member of the St. Paul Police Department for over four years, and she has already won awards.

She was recently named Officer of the Year by the department for her work in a number of cases over the course of a year, including convincing a woman who was carrying a gun and contemplating suicide to surrender it, putting the puzzle pieces together to capture a shooter, and rescuing occupants from a burning apartment building.

Last November, Kisch attempted to assist a lady who was shot and murdered in a bar gunfight on West Seventh Street. Kisch was one of the first responders to arrive at the scene.

Sgt. Kou Yang, Kisch’s superior, recommended her for the honor in a letter that stated, “She has the innate capacity to take leadership at chaotic circumstances and could be depended upon to make cool and collective judgments under duress.”

Up until the age of 13, Kisch lived in Eagan with her family when they relocated to a 10-acre hobby farm in Henderson, close to Belle Plaine. Kisch said that her parents forced her to attend taekwondo lessons so she could acquire her physical education credits for high school even though she was homeschooled.

I used to detest it, then all of a sudden, something snapped, and I realized how much fun it was.

Kisch, a fourth-degree black belt in taekwondo, finished third in extreme martial arts in 2007 and second in the world in 2008 in the category of sparring.

In 2005, she graduated from high school with a year’s worth of college credits. She said, “I didn’t really know what I wanted to accomplish with my life.”

Following in her mother’s footsteps, she worked as a flight attendant for roughly four years while also teaching martial arts full-time. She went back to teaching martial arts while managing a store.

Pilot John Johnson told Kisch about his father, a former St. Paul police sergeant, while she was a flight attendant.

Johnson believed that Kisch’s experience in martial arts would make her a good law enforcement candidate.

He recently added that “she can command an airplane or whatever and she does it with, like, elegance.” “She would very sweetly put them in their place without even letting them know they was put in place if a passenger gave her a hard time.”

Being the oldest of eight children, Kisch stated she believes that comes from the fact that “I was always bossing my siblings around.”

Kisch attended college and gained experience in the security and loss-prevention industries while pursuing her degree. She joined the St. Paul Police Department in her early 30s, and she believes that her age and career in a number of occupations have given her insight and life experiences.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, scrutiny of law enforcement procedures following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and worries about gun violence, the work has already changed since Kisch joined the department in 2018. Despite these changes, she said she still loves being an officer, particularly in St. Paul’s Central District where she works overnight shifts.

Kisch described being elected Officer of the Year as “a big honor.” Every accomplishment, according to her, was the result of teamwork with the other police she works with.

Sgts. Jeff Schwab and Amber Larson received the Detectives of the Year award at the department’s annual awards ceremony for their work on a quadruple homicide. According to police, four individuals were fatally shot in the West Seventh Street neighborhood in September, and their remains were discovered in a car abandoned in a cornfield in Dunn County, Wisconsin. In such scenario, a guy is accused.

The award for Civilian Employee of the Year went to Michele Bunce. She coordinates grant management in addition to managing the department’s $120 million budget.

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