From the cop side: When you watch American TV these days, there must be at least 12 to 15 cop shows on. Most if not all are about folks getting murdered and big thefts of money and stuff. Very few show the “normal” stuff cops really do. And, they always solve the problem in one hour. Great, in most cases it would take us longer than that just to write the report… Speaking of reports, you almost never see the cops writing them…if they do, it’s quick.
The other fun things you see in TV are chasing the bad guys, yep, that’s fun, but these days in California, if you chase somebody in a car, there’s even more paperwork the State makes the cops fill out. One thing that most bureaucrats think will solve all problems is filling out a form for some problem.
However, what I found the most rewarding thing I ever did in police work was saving a life. In 32 years I did CPR about 15 times—a few times I actually saved somebody…most of the time we were too late. But, I always tried.
Then there were the gunshot wounds, the cuts from knives, heads smashed in from bats, car wrecks and stuff like that. In most cases, the victims were adults and the cause was often from intoxication or other stupid adult behavior. The city I first started working in was like the suicide capitol for the state or something…maybe it was the water. For an adult with a terminal illness, I kind of think if they want to check out on their own, who are we to stop them?
But babies and children I’ll knock down brick walls to save them. I’d even do crazy stuff to get to them if needed. I figure kids deserve everything we can do to allow them to grow up into adults…and hopefully they are smart and do good in life….but we have to give them the chance.
One day I was on “routine” patrol in the city I used to work in. It was late in the afternoon and so far it had been a quiet dayshift. I had been driving my assigned Crown Vic around in circles for hours punching holes in the air. I always took very good care of the car I was assigned. It was always clean and polished…and I would personally talk to the mechanic to make sure it was in perfect condition. I had them add good gas shocks, change the air filter etc often and made sure everything was in perfect condition--- especially the suspension and brakes. Good to go fast, but you have to handle the turns and stops.
Anyway…there I was driving around looking for trouble…when the computer screen in my car showed the dispatcher was getting a medical aid 911 call. As the dispatcher opened an incident, it would start coming up on our computer in the car, so we could see what was coming as soon as they started it---even before they called us on the radio.
The display just showed the address and that it was a medical aid call--- transferred to the Fire Department dispatcher…then the police dispatcher called me on the radio.
“L 1 can you respond to a medical aid, a baby choking and turning blue at ……”
Me: “Dispatch, L1 is enroute, I’ll be going Code 3, advise the X unit (the Sergeant).”
Now, at that point in my life I had been a CPR / First Aid instructor for over 12 years…. I had trained hundreds of people how to do CPR and in that class, we did training for choking babies. I had never actually saved a little kid though.
I’m glad the traffic was light…I hit the throttle on the 275 horsepower Crown Vic and went to the speed of sound. I was doing all kinds of controlled crazy shit to get there and save this little girl.
As usual, citizen drivers didn’t know what to do when a police car with lights and siren on was coming up behind them…so in some cases they’d stop in the middle of the road in a panic, in other cases they’d pull to the left and panic…a few did what they were supposed to do- pull the right and get the f—k out of the way. I have to save a kid, I wasn’t going to a sell on donuts….move to the right and get out of the way NOW!
The speed of sound.... If you do it right, the Crown Vic and go faster than the speed of sound….it will actually go faster than the speed at which people can hear the siren…so it must be faster than the speed of sound, right?
I made the turn on the street where the little girl was turning blue…. Parked in front, got out with my first aid kit and ran through the front door without an invite.
Mom was holding the little girl and freaking out….”Officer, can you help her?”
Me: “let me have her, I can help.”
I took the little baby and cradled her in my left arm with her face up…she had a pulse and was looking at me, but no air was going in.
I turned her face down, and gave a little pat on her back…and out came the food and a cry. Good sign…I love when I hear a baby cry in these cases.
The Fire Department in that city is very good, they get there quick. As the fire folks walked into the house, I had the little girl still in my arms making sure she was going to keep breathing. I started to hand her to the medic, but he looked at me and said: “you look like you know what you’re doing, let’s walk her out to the ambulance.”
She did fine and lived. I felt good. I came back to that house the next day to make sure she was OK and gave little plastic police badges to her brother and sisters. They made me a plate of cookies and that was one of the best rewards I had ever gotten in my entire life. Better than any medals or certificates.
That little girl is about 8 years old now.