Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Blue Monday

I had another topic planned for this week's first post, but good stuff interceded. There is sometimes a dearth of that in my job, so I'm just feeling compelled to share a couple events that made my day!

Monday afternoon around 1:30 P.M., a 13 year old girl with a heart defect woke up at Children's Hospital in Omaha, looked at her parents, and said "What happened?" Here's what happened:

Saturday night at home, she collapsed in her bedroom at her home in rural Lancaster County. Her heart was not beating properly, rather she was experiencing arrhythmia--a quivering of the heart muscle, during which blood is not being effectively pumped. Her parents began CPR and called 911.

While rescue units were responding, the dispatcher asked for any officer with an AED--an automated external defibrillator. Although the home wasn't in the City of Lincoln, and the Sheriff's Office does not have any AEDs, Lincoln Police Officer Rusty Lashley was on duty in the Southeast Team Area, near the southern edge of Lincoln. He is one of 10 LPD officers with an AED donated to the department by Lincoln's AED Consortium. Rusty responded, and arrived in three minutes. It took 1:26 from the time he turned on the AED until the device, charged, diagnosed fibrillation, and delivered a life-saving shock that restored the heartbeat.

Lincoln police officers will receive several life-saving awards this year in ceremonies we conduct four times annually. But Rusty's award was already pretty evident on his face when I talked to him yesterday afternoon, and it had nothing to do with a plaque.

Earlier in the afternoon, Mayor Coleen Seng presented a team of Lincoln Police Officers with the Mayor's Award of Excellence for the month of April. Sgt. Mike Bassett, Officer Megan Schreiner, and Officer Cassie Johnson received a nice plaque, a savings bond, and a day off with pay in recognition of the excellent work they've done in attacking prostitution in southwest Lincoln. I blogged about their work in a previous post, and it was great to see the Mayor recognize them.

They were nominated by Captain Bob Wilhelm, who also deserves a hand for clearing the path for this kind of good proactive police work. On the nomination form, you have to choose a category for the performance. Undercover prostitution operations don't really fit neatly into any of the categories. So, the award goes on the records in the category of "Productivity and Customer Relations." Yes, that's actually engraved on the plaque--a bit of that off-beat humor everyone at LPD appreciates.


Anonymous said...

A perfect example of another "job" well done. There was apparently no hesitation to allow the officer to respond outside the city limits and the officer was able to find the rural address immediately. Can you imagine being the officer and applying the equipment to a child while her parents watched in anguish? It may have been the first time the officer utilized the equipment other than in training. The "job" certainly appears to be more about courage, skill and a desire to be there for others. Officer Lashley will never be forgotten by that child's family. Even in less dramatic cases, officers ARE remembered and appreciated after they leave.

Anonymous said...

I in no way want to detract from the saving of the life of that little girl, in fact I am very elated. I see that LPD went out of the city to the county and I commend you Chief for allowing this to happen. The state of Nebraska however seems to not have that approach. Last winter a State employee cleared the driveway of a heart patient that needed to get to a doctor. The employee used state equipment on a private drive. The heart patient was snowbound and could not get out of the snow shut driveway to drive to the appointment. Consequently the state employee was fired (for misuse of equipment). A bit of contrast in this example of an attempt to help someone. LPD had a much better outcome.
Jim J

Anonymous said...

Truly a great job by Ofc. Lashley! Sgt. Bassett and the officers should also be commended for stepping up & trying to get a handle on the oldest profession before Lincoln loses that small town feel. On another subject, I've heard that LPD has no officers being nominated for the MADD award. How can this be? Rumor has it that one of your squads went above and beyond last year in apprehending DWIs. Did the officers get any recognition from LPD?

Steven Johnston said...

My sincerest congratulations to Officer Lashley and the entire LPD for a fine rescue. Early defibrillation is vitally important as you have just demonstrated. I am very proud that LPD has joined the ranks of departments that carry AEDs. This is truly one of the finest things a police department can do for its community. My department has carried AEDs for years and we have 99 saves so far. But when you have a success story like Kelsey's it might be easy to fail to appreciate the true impact. You have given her a future that she may well have not had were it not for your actions. You really don't know how many lives you have saved here. You have altered eternity.

Thank you again and best wishes for continued success.

Steven Johnston
Deputy Chief of Police
Rochester (MN) Police

Board Member
Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association