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LAUREL – Six members of the Laurel Police Department received Life Saving Awards for their actions in responding to an opioid overdose, an overturned vehicle and an unresponsive woman during last week’s Laurel City Council meeting.
The awards were given to employees who go beyond the expectation of a first responder and render life support to a person who could die from a serious injury or illness, said Lt. Brad DiPietro, who presented the awards on March 25.
Receiving the Life Saving Awards were Pfc. Matthew Jordan, Pfc. Bennet-Johns, Sgt. Randy Snearly, Sgt. Jesse Conyngham, Cpl. Clayton Ammerman and Pfc. James Bright.
Additionally, Pfc. Karena Jackson and Sgt. Zachary Rexine were awarded unit citations during the presentation.
The first Life Saving Award was given to Jordan for his response to an opioid overdose last year.
On May 5, Laurel Police responded to the 500 block of Montgomery Street for an unresponsive 29-year-old male, DiPietro said. Upon arrival, Jordan and Rexine recognized that the victim was suffering from an opioid overdose and moved him to the floor.
The officers called for Narcan – a nasal spray version of naloxone, which can be used to revive someone who has stopped breathing as a result of a drug overdose.
Jackson responded to the call with Narcan and Jordan administered the medication. The victim began to regain consciousness before the arrival of the fire department, DiPietro said.
All three officers received unit citations for their “quick thinking and response to this call,” he said.
The second award was presented to Johns for his “decisive actions and willingness to risk his own safety” while responding to an overturned vehicle over the summer, DiPietro said.
On June 25, Johns was traveling off-duty on Route 100 in Howard County when he observed an overturned vehicle off the roadway, DiPietro said. Someone at the scene advised Johns that the driver was trapped inside and that smoke was coming from the car.
After observing an adult female banging on the glass from inside the vehicle, Johns climbed on top of the vehicle and pulled the victim to safety away from the car, DiPietro said. The woman was taken to Howard County General Hospital for several serious injuries, he said.
The final Life Saving Awards were presented to Sgt. Randy Snearly, Sgt. Jesse Conyngham, Cpl. Clayton Ammerman and Pfc. James Bright for their actions in resuscitating a young woman who had stopped breathing.
On November 28, a woman arrived at the Laurel Police Department lobby and told officers that her daughter – who was in the car – had stopped breathing. The officers carried the victim into the lobby and performed CPR until rescue personnel arrived and took over, DiPietro said.
Because of the actions of the officers and emergency personnel, he said, the victim regained a pulse on the way to Howard County General Hospital, where she was admitted into the intensive care unit.
Although the young woman passed away the next day, DiPietro said their efforts allowed family members to gather and say goodbye to their loved one.
Valerie M.A. Nicholas, a Ward 1 councilmember, thanked the officers for their service. She said many people in the community have voiced their support for the police department on Facebook by commenting about how they have stopped and helped them.
“I just want to thank you because you all are just a really great set of officers,” Nicholas said. “The community policing in this city is the best that I’ve seen, and I’ve lived a lot of different places – but you all are great.”
Council President and Ward 2 councilmember Frederick Smalls also expressed his appreciation for the police department.
“We positively appreciate, on behalf of our citizens of our great city, all that you do and the sacrifices that you and your families make on a daily basis,” he said.