Last Friday evening’s Rotary Club banquet recognizing Maumelle’s police and fire award recipients was eye opening.
Several firefighters and policemen were recognized for truly heroic actions, yet few people except those in attendance — mostly their colleagues — are even aware of their heroics.
If you’ve ever read a police report you know that the one thing they’re known for is their brevity.
And as Sgt. Joe Friday used to say on his classic TV hit show, "Dragnet," all he wanted was "just the facts ma’am."
You won’t find any adjectives in those reports — except for officer Laura Robinson who has used the word "taupe" to describe the color of a vehicle on more than one occasion.
The most revealing information usually comes from quotations of the parties involved.
While descriptive, you’ll find the so-called magic words that can be pointed to in court to help prove their case, as in the driver "smelled of intoxicants."
But what you won’t find is any reference to heroic actions taken by those involved.
Truth is — just putting on a uniform and showing up for work these days could be considered heroic.
During last Friday’s awards ceremony the leaders of the various organizations did use descriptive words and adjectives to describe for those in attendance how heroic the actions taken were.
Chief Sam Williams described the incident last year involving a standoff with a mentally disturbed individual outside the Maumelle city limits on Arkansas Highway 365 south of town and how a dangerous man with a gun had the drop on two Pulaski County Deputies and was just waiting for the two to come around a corner. A Maumelle officer had responded from his home, had no means of communication and in order to protect the two deputies, exposed himself and fired two rounds at the man which forced him to take cover and probably saved the deputies lives, according to Williams.
Detective Chase Campbell was the Maumelle officer recognized for his heroic gallantry that day.
In another example a mental patient escaped from Methodist Behavioral Hospital and somehow acquired a pistol and ran all over the north side of town frightening homeowners with police in pursuit until he holed up in a backyard, held the gun to his own head and threatened to shoot himself although he had said previously he would take others with him. After a standoff, Maumelle’s chief of police risked his own life to approach the man and eventually talk him into giving up without harming himself or others.
Chief Sam Williams was honored for his heroic actions that day.
Maumelle Fire Chief George Glynn also recognized several firefighters for heroic actions putting their own life at risk in order to rescue others. He noted they do so without pause because its their job and what’s expected of them.
If there’s anyone who writes less than policemen, it’s firefighters. If police reports have a brief narrative, fire reports are fortunate to contain two sentences.
Meritorious Service Awards for saving a life were given to:
Firefighter Joshua Mauldin who responded with Engine Company 1 on May 14, 2012 to a person having difficulty breathing. The patient’s heart stopped and then stopped breathing when he was placed on an ambulance cot. Mauldin traveled with ambulance personnel to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). As a result of Firefighter Mauldin’s actions, the patient regained a pulse and began breathing on his own before arriving at the emergency room. Maulden was awarded two more similar awards for saving lives.
Others honored included Engineer Jeremy New, Firefighter William McCullar who along with Mauldin responded with Engine Company 1’s A-Shift on July 3, 2012 to a report of an unresponsive person at a local hotel. While providing treatment, the patient’s heart stopped and he stopped breathing. Firefighters initiated CPR. As a result of their actions, the patient regained a pulse and began breathing on his own.
Captain Shane Holmes, Engineer Tyler Castleberry, Firefighter Todd Breeding and Mauldin responded on July 6, 2012 to a report of a person having a seizure at a local industry. During treatment, the patient stopped breathing and his heart stopped. Firefighters initiated CPR and shocked the patient with an automated external defibrillator (AED). As a result of their actions, the patient regained a pulse, began breathing on his own and has since recovered sufficiently to return to work.
But all of Maumelle’s first responders deserve recognition for their efforts at Maumelle Middle School on Sept. 7, 2012 to treat mass casualties when 9 students suffered from heat exhaustion or heat stroke standing outside in 100 degree plus temperatures while the school was searched for a bomb hoax. Many more could have suffered had it not been for the swift action taken.
The residents of Maumelle are very fortunate to have men and women of the character and caliber to lay their life on the line every time its needed.
Next time you see one of them in blue, stop and thank them for what they do for you.