Saving lives is part of the job

While firefighters and medics are constantly credited in the mainstream media as life savers, police officers save lives every day, too


When it comes to giving CPR, it seems there are those who do and those who don’t. Two incidents that made the headlines in the past few days came within hours of each other — but with two completely different approaches and outcomes.

On the morning of February 26, an 87-year-old woman at an independent living facility in Bakersfield (Calif.) collapsed in what appeared to be sudden cardiac arrest.

A woman at the facility called 911 to request medical assistance. During the seven-minute call, she refused to give CPR — citing facility policy — despite desperate pleas from a 911 dispatcher. The Bakersfield Police Department has opened an investigation into possible criminal wrongdoing in the incident at the Glenwood Gardens independent living facility.

"Is there anybody that’s willing to help this lady and not let her die?" dispatcher Tracey Halvorson frantically pleaded in the 911 audio from the incident at the Glenwood Gardens independent living facility (pictured above). Fortunately, no such pleading was necessary for Forest Park (Ga.), Master Patrol Officer Christopher Simmons, whose quick, decisive action brought a man back to life. (AP Image)
"Is there anybody that’s willing to help this lady and not let her die?" dispatcher Tracey Halvorson frantically pleaded in the 911 audio from the incident at the Glenwood Gardens independent living facility (pictured above). Fortunately, no such pleading was necessary for Forest Park (Ga.), Master Patrol Officer Christopher Simmons, whose quick, decisive action brought a man back to life. (AP Image)

Quick, Decisive Action
Meanwhile, in the small hours of the same morning in Forest Park (Ga.), Master Patrol Officer Christopher Simmons was approached by a woman whose adult son was unconscious, unresponsive, and slumped over the center console of a car at a gas station.

Video footage showed Simmons — with the assistance of two others — bringing the 41-year-old man inside the gas station convenience store and performing CPR.

Simmons' quick, decisive action proved effective. The man soon began breathing on his own. Paramedics arrived, and transferred him to a nearby medical facility for further care.

“Had it not been for MPO Simmons’ training and quick response, the outcome of this situation could have been disastrous,” Major Chris Matson said of the incident.

Both stories are prone to evoke strong emotions, and understandably, both have captured the attention of first responders and civilians alike. For us, MPO Simmons’ story offers some things to think about:

Do you think it’s more likely that during your next shift you’ll: a.) discharge your service weapon, b.) provide medical assistance, c.) both, or d.) neither?
Are you fully confident in your training to perform potentially life-saving care?
Do you have an AED in your squad? If you don’t, do you have a plan to get one?
Does your PD provide combat casualty training? If not, what will you do about it?
Does your when/then planning include the prospect of providing medical aid?

Cops Save Lives Every Day
Firefighters, EMTs, and paramedics are constantly being credited in the mainstream media as life savers — and they are absolutely, without question, life-saving professionals — but cops save lives every day, too.

It’s fundamental to the ethos “to protect and serve.”

Cops push inattentive women from the path of oncoming vehicles.

Cops pull suicidal men to safety from a precarious perch.

They fetch folks from frigid waters and prevent people from being gored by livestock.

“All in a day’s work,” they say.

“Just doing my job,” they say.

What will you do today, at work, on the job, to serve and protect? 

Stay safe, my friends.

About the author

Doug Wyllie is Editor at Large for PoliceOne, providing police training content on a wide range of topics and trends affecting the law enforcement community. Doug is the 2014 Western Publishing Association "Maggie Award" winner for Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column, and has authored more than 1,000 articles and tactical tips. Doug hosts the PoliceOne Podcast, Policing Matters, and is the host for PoliceOne Video interviews. Doug is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers' Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

Contact Doug Wyllie

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