Law enforcement officers are challenged daily in the performance of their duties; they face each challenge freely and unselfishly while answering the call to duty. In certain instances, their actions warrant special attention from their respective departments. The Bulletin also wants to recognize those situations that transcend the normal rigors of the law enforcement profession.
Officer Scott Oak of the West Richland, Washington, Police Department witnessed an unfortunate sight on his way to work in his patrol car. The officer observed a two-vehicle collision after which the cars quickly burst into flames. As he ran to the scene, Officer Oak was told that a child was trapped inside one of the burning vehicles. The officer delved through the smoke- and flame-filled vehicle three different times to free the child. When Officer Oak finally managed to extract the child from the mangled car, the vehicle exploded and knocked both him and the victim to the ground, but the officer quickly recovered and performed CPR. Officer Oak suffered burns on his arms and smoke inhalation injuries to his lungs as a result of his heroic rescue.
One morning in May 2009 at Atascadero State Hospital in Atascadero, California, Chief Larry Holt and Lieutenant David Landrum of the Department of Police Services were traveling from a meeting when they responded to an emergency call for a collision between a single vehicle and a tree. Upon their arrival at the scene, Lieutenant Landrum ran to the car while Chief Holt accessed a fire extinguisher and first aid kit. In the automobile, Lieutenant Landrum found the semiconscious, incoherent driver behind the wheel, as an engine fire caused by a broken fuel line quickly approached the driver’s seat. Even though the driver outweighed Lieutenant Landrum by over 100 pounds, the lieutenant managed to free him from the vehicle and transport him to a safe location until paramedics arrived. The victim of the accident suffered multiple fractured ribs and lacerations, but his injuries may have been fatal if Lieutenant Landrum had not swiftly removed him from the burning vehicle.
Nominations for the Bulletin Notes should be based on either the rescue of one or more citizens or arrest(s) made at unusual risk to an officer’s safety. Submissions should include a short write-up (maximum of 250 words), a separate photograph of each nominee, and a letter from the department’s ranking officer endorsing the nomination. Submissions should be sent to the Editor, FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, FBI Academy, Quantico, VA 22135.