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.
On December 5, 2009, Officer Dean Buttitta of the Bradenton, Florida, Police Department was on patrol when a female motorist alerted him that her infant daughter was not breathing and was gasping for air. The officer entered the woman’s car, examined the choking infant, and called for emergency medical assistance. The child’s condition, however, required immediate attention; a prolonged lack of oxygen could leave her permanently injured or dead in a short period of time. Officer Buttitta recognized the urgency of the situation and acted swiftly to save the infant’s life. He repositioned her on the seat and cleared her airways, successfully allowing the infant to breath once again. Eventually, emergency medical services arrived and transported the child to a local hospital where she stabilized and sustained no permanent injuries.
On a frigid January morning, Suffolk County, New York, Police Department Patrol Officer Matthew DeMatteo responded to a call that a young girl and her dog had fallen through the ice into the bitterly cold water of the bay. Officer DeMatteo arrived at the scene and observed the 11-year-old girl about 50 yards from the shore, submerged up to her neck. He immediately acquired a life ring from his patrol car and crawled on his stomach across the ice. When Officer DeMatteo reached the girl, he determined that she had been submerged for too long and was unable to move. He removed her from the water and pulled her back across the ice. As they neared the shore, both the officer and the girl fell through the ice again, but Officer DeMatteo managed to heave them both out of the water. Once within reach of the shore, emergency response personnel assisted them out of the water and transported them to a local hospital for hypothermia treatment.
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.