Six Oakdale police officers and two Senior Outreach volunteers were recently honored with department meritorious medals for life-saving actions in the course of duty. One officer, Dan Taylor, received recognition for two separate incidents. Following is a brief recap of the actions that resulted in the honors.
Officer Dan Taylor
On June 25, Taylor was notified of a drowning victim in the 300 Block of Treecrest Circle. Officer Taylor responded and when he arrived was met with several people screaming in the backyard of the property. Officer Taylor found a female that was not breathing, was soaking wet and did not have a pulse.
Taylor instructed an individual to perform rescue breaths while he pushed on the female’s stomach area in an effort to expel water from her lungs. After several attempts the female coughed up water, but had only a very faint pulse.
Officer Taylor turned the female on to her side where she coughed up more water, vomited and then started breathing on her own.
After being revived, the female was disoriented, became combative and had to be restrained. Emergency personnel arrived and transported her to the hospital for additional treatment.
“It’s clear the decisive and quick actions of Officer Taylor saved the life of the female who would have either died or suffered serious injury had he not acted rapidly and definitively,” said Interim Police Chief Mike Harden. “He responded to his training and acted quickly and decisively.”
Taylor was awarded with the Oakdale Police Department’s Lifesaving Medal for his actions.
Outreach Volunteers Lupe Aguilera and Debbie Hampton
Lieutenant Keri Sturges
On June 1, Volunteers Aguilera and Hampton went to check a disabled 62-year-old female as part of a regular home visit performed by the senior outreach program.
When Aguilera and Hampton didn’t receive a response and after no response on a phone call, they checked the rear of the house with the assistance of Lt. Sturges when they heard a female through an open back window. The female was conscious but needed emergency assistance. Emergency crews were summoned and determined the elderly resident had fallen and was in a semi-conscious state and on the ground for over two days.
According to Chief Harden, the woman had suffered a heart attack and was severely dehydrated.
“The action of Volunteers Lupe Aguilera and Debbie Hampton along with the assistance of Lt. Keri Sturges resulted in a lifesaving event that would have had a tragic outcome if not for their timely and effective actions,” Chief Harden said. “These were ordinary people doing extraordinary things.”
Harden said that because of their distinguished service all three were given the department’s Lifesaving Medal.
Officer Dan Taylor and Sergeant Mike Nixon
On June 4, the California Highway Patrol received reports of a man on the ledge of the Yosemite Avenue Bridge above the Stanislaus River.
Officer Taylor responded and approached the subject who told him, “Go away I’m going to jump.”
As Taylor talked to the man, who was crying, the man said he “wanted to end it all” and refused any help that was offered.
With the assistance of Sergeant Nixon, both officers continued to negotiate with the man and inched closer to him during their discussions.
As the male was talking to Nixon, Taylor grabbed the man, pulling him back over, preventing him from jumping into the river which could have resulted in his death or in the least a serious injury.
“Both officers were putting their safety at great risk for someone they didn’t even know,” Harden said. “That sums up a police officer’s job sometimes.”
Sergeant Nixon’s action was a lifesaving event and he was awarded the Oakdale Police Department’s Lifesaving Medal.
Harden said Officer Taylor’s actions resulted in not only a lifesaving event, but he was especially recognized for performing his duties by displaying extreme courage under conditions likely to result in serious injury or death to himself and that his actions were necessary to prevent the death or serious injury to another person.
“Because of Officer Taylor’s performance in the line of duty, he is awarded with the department’s second highest award, the Medal of Valor,” Harden said. “He displayed conspicuous bravery and heroism that went above and beyond the normal demands of service.”
Officers Andy Stever, Richard Plath and Guillermo Manriquez
On June 13, Sergeant Nixon, Officer Manriquez, Officer Plath and Officer Stever were dispatched to the area of Gina Way for a report of a large structure fire. When they got to the area, they noticed flames coming from the garage area of a residence in the 1900 block of Gina Way.
Chief Harden said flames were shooting approximately 20 feet high in the air and it appeared that a gas line was ruptured. The fire was also causing damage to two homes and, if not quickly addressed by fire personnel, could have resulted in the complete destruction of the houses. Sergeant Nixon was told by a neighbor that the homeowner of one of the threatened homes was still inside the house and instructed Manriquez, Plath and Stever to check the residence.
When the officers tried to gain entry to the house, they found the front door locked and had to force entry.
The officers then found a 65-year-old man on the second floor who was disoriented by smoke inhalation.
The officers took him outside where he was treated and examined by medical personnel. Officers Manriquez, Plath and Stever were awarded with the Oakdale Police Department’s Unit Citation Medal as a result of their actions under extremely dangerous and hazardous conditions and demonstrated bravery and outstanding service.
“Without question they saved the life of the gentleman inside the house,” Harden said.
Since taking the helm of the department in July, Chief Harden said he has been impressed with many actions of his personnel.
“Uncommon valor is very common in this department,” Harden said.