Law enforcement officers are challenged daily in the performance of their duties; they face each encounter 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 Andrew Wood
Officer Michael Madrid
Sergeant Chris Thompson
Tooele City, Utah, Police Department Officers Andrew Wood and Michael Madrid were on patrol near a reservoir when a frantic citizen approached them and said a minivan with a 12-year-old girl inside was submerged in the water. After dispatch was notified, both officers responded to the southwest side of the reservoir but could not see the vehicle. Witnesses pointed out where the minivan submerged.
The officers removed some of their heavy gear and jumped into the frigid water. They found the vehicle approximately 12 feet from the shore and about 10 feet under water. Both officers reported limited vision below the surface and had to feel the minivan to determine the doors and windows were shut. While swimming, they tried to pry open the doors and break a window with a metal pipe, hammer, and window punch but were unsuccessful.
Officer Madrid swam to shore where Sergeant Chris Thompson had arrived and retrieved his service pistol. Then, Officer Madrid swam back to the area of the minivan and handed the pistol to Officer Wood, who dove under the water and fired one round toward the window while bracing himself with his left hand on the vehicle. After the gun fired but failed to cycle properly, Officer Wood resurfaced to put another round in the chamber and dove back in.
When he observed the arm of the child in the minivan, Officer Wood dropped the gun and grabbed her arm. He was unable to remove the girl and had to resurface for air. Officer Wood dove back under to enter further into the vehicle, pulled the child out, and pushed her above his head toward the surface. Officer Madrid held her and swam to the shore. Sergeant Thompson started chest compressions.
The child was lifeless. Her skin was pale, her lips were blue, and there was water in her airway. She had to be repeatedly turned onto her side, causing water to discharge from her nostrils and mouth. Sergeant Thompson continued chest compressions, with Officers Madrid and Wood assisting until emergency medical services arrived. The officers carried the child up a hill to the ambulance, where EMTs took over and transported her to the hospital. The young girl made a full recovery.
Nominations for the Bulletin Notes should be based on either the rescue of one or more citizens or an arrest(s) made at unusual risk to an officer’s safety. Submissions should include a short write-up, a separate photograph of each nominee, and a letter from the department’s ranking officer endorsing the nomination. Submissions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.