Training and resource development lie at the root of a trio of chief’s commendations for Oak Bay Police officers.
Const. Angus Wagnell, Const. Markus Lueder and Const. Rick Anthony earned the certificates Tuesday from Chief Constable Andy Brinton.
“This is very indicative of the service we provide,” said Brinton. “You see examples of that little extra pieces of care.”
Wagnell’s moment goes back to last Good Friday.
“A fellow was riding his bike with a friend … he called out and his friend looked back and saw him fall to the ground off his bike,” Wagnell said.
The Oak Bay officer responded to the 911 call and happened to be first on the scene. He took over CPR from the friend and a bystander.
“I arrived on scene and took over the CPR until Oak Bay Fire Department got there and an ambulance,” Wagnell said. “The doctor said that because he was given CPR and good CPR … that helped save his life.”
In his 24-year career it was his first time performing CPR.
“It’s a good feeling,” he said. “You want to see them win the battle and do the best you can … It was nice that it was a successful outcome.”
Const. Markus Lueder was also first to arrive for an emergency call for a woman in cardiac arrest in the Oak Bay area.
“I happened to be the first responder on site,” he said. “A very distraught male led me into the house and took me up to the room where the female was. I started CPR … after about a minute or so the fire department got there and they took over.”
That patient also pulled through.
“The fire department and the paramedics, they were amazing that night. I didn’t know they could do all the things that they did at that house,” Lueder said. “It was a good ending to a possibly tragic story.”
Both officers say it’s uncommon to arrive before those with the more extensive first responder experience.
“We’re ready and we’re trained to help,” Lueder said. “You’re always trying to be well equipped and trained for what might come down the road.”
It’s all part of a theme, the community police department’s creed to protect life and preserve property and peace, says Anthony.
“They did something we typically don’t often do,” Anthony said of his peers’ recognition.
His commendation comes out of a longer-term project spurred by a moment’s notice that something wasn’t right for a pair of elderly residents.
“It’ll stand out as one of my more memorable cases in my career,” he admitted.
It stemmed from a situation where emergency personnel were called to a home for a medical emergency. The elderly resident later died in hospital. The home was shared by another elderly resident struggling with dementia and other aging issues.
There was no one to “oversee the life that was left. We did a lot of work looking for any kind of relations, there weren’t any,” Anthony said.
“It was an unusual case for sure … The fortunate thing about the Oak Bay Police is that’s written into our credo, community service, we have the time to step in.”
The legwork – including sorting the finances and setting the resident up with a caring neighbour family who applied for guardianship and cared for the other resident for her remaining days – lay the groundwork for an an elderly neglect/abuse recognition and awareness plan.
Implemented last fall, it was presented to Oak Bay and Saanich police members as well as Blockwatch captains to aid them in recognizing situations where elderly people may need assistance. It also provides resources, allowing officers to make necessary connections to outside agencies and organizations quickly and early in a case.
“I realized nobody’s addressed this how do cops recognize elder issues,” he said “When there’s none of that (criminal element) there, but there are things wrong, who do you call?” he said. “It was a recognition and training program for cops going on calls to recognize self neglect, elder abuse … I’d like to see that built on even further.”
Even as he’s commended for the work he did, Anthony passes on kudos to the neighbour family that stepped up.
“They ultimately took over where I left off. They adopted the lady and looked after her until she passed away,” Anthony said. “She passed away warm and comfortable and looked after.”