Three Great Bend Police Department officers received commendations from Police Chief Steve Haulmark last week after being credited with life-saving actions in the course of a recent medical emergency.
GBPD Sgt. Jefferson Davis and officers Matthew Barker and Kevin Norton received the commendations for their response to a call from the early morning of Jan. 9.
At about 2:30 a.m. that morning, Barker was dispatched to a Great Bend residence following a 911 call in which the dispatcher was only able to hear calls for help on the line, with no additional information. Barker responded, not knowing what he would encounter.
“We weren’t real sure what the situation was until we got there,” Davis said.
According to Davis, when Barker, a three-year veteran of the GBPD, arrived at the scene, he encountered an unresponsive male with no heart rate and undertook live-saving procedures, including performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on him.
Davis, Barker’s supervisor, expressed pride in the officer’s response.
“I was proud that he was able to go into that situation with a strong language barrier and discern that there was a medical emergency very quickly and start processes that would help prolong (the patient’s) life,” Davis said.
When Davis arrived at the scene he assisted Barker in continuing to perform CPR on the man until Great Bend Fire/EMS personnel arrived.
Meanwhile, Davis said, Norton, who is newer with the GBPD, was able to connect with family members in a different part of the house, calm them and obtain the man’s necessary medical information, including medication information.
Davis commended the instincts Norton showed in his actions, as well.
“He’s a younger officer and to have the instincts to know to do that, it was very helpful,” Davis said.
When EMS personnel arrived and took over life-saving procedures, Davis and Barker continued to assist by helping EMS personnel with gear to allow them to expedite the patient’s trip to the hospital.
One of the EMS responders, he said, later called and thanked Davis for his and his officers’ actions aiding EMS personnel, which likely saved the man’s life. EMS advised Davis the man had a pulse and was beginning to breathe on his own again when EMS got them to the hospital.
As of Wednesday morning, Davis said, to his knowledge the man was doing well and his condition was improving.
Davis said he was touched EMS personnel would reach out personally to him with a thank you.
“(The firefighter) said, ‘I just want to thank you guys for what you did. That gave us a chance to do what we can do,’” Davis recalled.
The incident and the shows of gratitude that followed are indicative of the strong working relationship between Barton County’s first-response agencies, Davis said. It’s a relationship he is grateful for and proud of.
“I’ve always said that Barton County probably has some of the best agencies as far as working together,” Davis said. “I think Barton County is blessed in that way.”
Each agency’s work, he said, is vital to the keeping the communities of Barton County safe.
In a post on the department’s social media page, the department also took the opportunity to recognize Great Bend Fire/EMS Capt. Nathan Florian, Capt. Eric Yoder, Engineer Mike Smith and Firefighter Preston Landers for their life-saving actions on the call.
“Ultimately, we’re all working toward the same goal; we just have different skill sets,” Davis said.
Haulmark expressed pride in the actions of his officers, saying it is representative of the work they do in high-pressure situations on a daily basis. He said he is grateful for the work his officers do.
In giving the three officers the commendation, Haulmark said so much focus is given to the negative, he feels it is important to spotlight the positive work officers do which may not get as much recognition.
Davis said he is grateful for the commendation he and the other officers received.
“That was a really nice thing,” Davis said. ”It was unexpected, but it is certainly an honor for all three of us.”