Four Auburn Police officers at 12:46 p.m. Jan. 11 responded to an unconscious man down and turning blue on the parking lot of the Auburn Safeway, an inhaler on the ground next to him.
While officers Micheal Bateman, Stanley Sedillo, Matt Wilkinson and Ren Kapule were en route, the person who’d made the 911 call began CPR.
Two minutes later, aware by then that they were dealing with a drug overdose and would have to act fast, the four officers took over life-saving measures. Working as a team, they administered two rounds of Naloxone, performed CPR and applied an automatic external defibrillator to the man. They kept at it until the Valley Regional Fire Authority and King County Medic One arrived and took over.
According to Police Chief Bill Pierson, documentation from the medics and firefighters on scene confirmed that their actions that day kept the man alive until they could take over.
On Monday night at City Hall, Pierson revived a custom he said had for too long gone by the wayside, publicly awarding the four men in blue for having saved a man’s life.
Pierson offered one reason why so many years had passed since officers last received commendations for such actions.
“One of the things you’ll come to understand about police officers is that they are humble, and they don’t want a lot of attention. It was tough to get them here; they’re here because I told them they had to be,” Pierson said.
Pierson said the man the officers helped to save contacted the police department after the event, revealing that he had come to the Auburn area to get treatment for his addiction, that he has made a complete medical recovery and has since entered into a treatment program
“I couldn’t be any prouder of these officers and every officer that we have in the Auburn Police Department because of the incredibly professional work that they do,” said Mayor Nancy Backus. “They do it with compassion, dedication, and as you can imagine, they don’t always see people in their best light.
“They work really hard to make sure that the first interactions that officers have with individuals are positive ones, but that is not always a possibility. They put their lives on the line, every single day, not knowing what they are going to come upon,” Backus said.