A Day In The Life Of A Chattanooga Police Officer - And Response (2)

Saturday, December 21, 2013
On Monday 12/16, the call of a CPR in progress came out at a local high rise apartment building. I was literally around the corner when the call came out. 

The dispatcher was still dispatching the call when I was getting out of my police car at the scene. As it was being dispatched, the dispatcher said the patient was a 9-day-old infant. When the elevator doors opened up, the dad handed me his lifeless baby boy who was turning blue. I started CPR on this small, lifeless baby boy as the dad was literally holding on to my ballistics vest in an effort to keep from collapsing to the elevator floor from sheer fear.

By the time the elevator reached the bottom floor, I had snatched the baby out of the hands of death and revived him, all the while my own baby boy was at home sleeping and my wife is at home praying for my safety. 

After the ambulance took this child from the scene, I sat back in my patrol car and couldn't move because my legs lost all feeling from the adrenaline rush. I then drove to the hospital once my legs began working again and EMS told me that the baby was going to make it. 

You know what I immediately did after that? I got back in my car and answered another call of a disorder between two drunken parents. A few minutes later, my shift came to an end and I immediately began working an extra job patrolling in the housing projects to help buy my son that special Christmas gift he has wanted for months. 

I don't consider myself a hero because I simply did what any other person behind the badge would have done. I just happened to be the first on the scene. If the mayor takes away the little bit of benefits afforded to the civil servants, I will still do my job and save the next baby the best I can, but it will make it a little harder because I will have to endure this same stress for more years and for lower pay. 

I don't ask to be rich; I ask to be treated fairly. I don't ask to be called a hero; I just ask for a little respect for my family's future. I don't ask for a pat on the back, I just ask for the same quality of life any person asks for. Oh, and the baby went home from the hospital this last Thursday.

A Chattanooga Police officer who wants no special recognition

* * *

To the unnamed officer, Thank you for your deeds and your words, To the publisher and staff at the Chattanoogan, thank you for printing the message with  Signature Unnamed.

        As a voting citizen of this state, I served on a local Grand Jury years ago. Numerous patrol officers and detectives  appeared before us and made their cases. I could not help but notice their hands. These folks were not tense or in any way nervous about their presence, but their hands were largely not at rest. What stayed with me was that several officers, I will not note whether patrol or detective, several officers bit their nails. Not before us but obviously during their waking hours. 

The drag of it was they did not do it like I bit mine, they did it like I did my first year in high school. They had removed down to the quick almost all the nail on  fingers on both hands. Reflecting back to the time I did this, my estimate was they were coping with stress in this manner. 

What  ways they use to cope with stress is not my issue here,  what is my business and every other tax paying citizen is that they be fairly treated in wages and benefits, one of which is their pension. A note in the piece this officer wrote is he used the word stress as well. He saved it until the conclusion of his piece to drive home how it affects his livelihood and home life. I hold no one occupation in public service special, all should be accorded fair earnings and post career benefits. We voting citizens all need to participate in this conversation and process now in city hall regarding fire and police pensions.         

As a mariner, I quit biting my nails this summer. We were several hundred miles east of Virginia on a northerly heading, I was puking  off and on for 20 hours. Our sailing vessel with a blown engine was 40 hours into a seven-day trip. I only threw up on watch. I slept off watch. But for repairing the plugged head, I stood my watches. Soaked to the skin on one I was. I knew it was not seasickness, it was bad hygiene or bacterial infection, could have  been stress, but I quit biting my nails. I trim them now.  So please, at City Hall, nail clippers are not needed, a fair conclusion to this pension process is.

Prentice Hicks

* * *

We are very fortunate in Chattanooga to have some outstanding people in our Police Department. They certainly aren't getting rich doing it, but nonetheless they put their lives on the line every day to keep this city  safe. 

I have many of these fine people as friends and consider it an honor to do so. Every day they go about their jobs, not knowing that they will return to their families at the end of their shift. Most of us will never know that emotion in our daily lives. Every day acts of courage take place in our city that we will never know about and sadly we take these folks for granted and assume that they are just doing their job. 

All of the holidays when we are gathered with our families, a good many of our first responders are working, and not able to spend that time with their families. Give that some thought as you drive down the street on a holiday and see a police car, an ambulance, or a fire truck. Thanks just doesn’t seem to be enough, when it comes to these folks. You have my sincere gratitude for doing what you do. 

Steve Schenk

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