LASD Lifesaving Awards | Sheriff Honors 31 Deputies for Saving Lives; 4 from SCV
On May 19, 2016, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) formally recognized 31 of their personnel for their heroic actions. Each were presented with the Lifesaving Award, which is given to employees or reserve members of the Department whose actions result in the saving or preservation of a human life that otherwise would have been lost without the employee’s direct involvement.
In addition, Sheriff McDonnell awarded the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Star Scroll to personnel from the Los Angeles County Fire Department and United States Coast Guard for their collaborative efforts with saving a scuba diver having difficulty breathing.
The recipients were as follows:
DEPUTY MATTHEW L. BURNETT
DEPUTY CHRISTINE M. SHAFFER
DEPUTY CHARLES W. WEATHERS
SANTA CLARITA VALLEY STATION
On August 1, 2015, deputies from Santa Clarita Valley Station responded to a baby not breathing call in a mobile home complex. They responded within seconds of the broadcast and found a two-year old female child unconscious and very pale in color. Deputies learned that the child had been face down in the community pool for approximately ten minutes. Deputy Shaffer immediately began checking the child’s vital signs and airway.
Deputies Weathers and Burnett, assigned to Parks Bureau, also arrived on scene. Deputy Weathers applied a bag valve mask, which forced air into the child’s lungs. As Deputy Weathers began administering rescue breaths into the child, Deputy Burnett connected oxygen to the bag valve mask. The introduction of oxygen later proved to be the vital factor in saving the child’s life. After approximately three minutes, Fire Department personnel arrived and encouraged Deputies Weathers and Burnett to continue their treatment. Approximately two minutes later, the child began to cough and opened her eyes. Within seconds, the child began to breathe on her own and began to cry. To keep the child from going into shock, Deputy Burnett wrapped a blanket around her body and continued to monitor her vital signs. The child was air lifted and transported to a local hospital for treatment.
The family and bystanders cheered and cried as the child was revived. The decisive actions by the deputies made the difference between life and death of this child.
DEPUTY CESAR OCHOA
SANTA CLARITA VALLEY STATION
On July 3, 2015, Deputy Ochoa, assigned to Santa Clarita Valley Station, responded to a service call. The informant stated the victim fell, was unconscious and bleeding from the head. Deputy Ochoa found the male laying on the ground and checked him, but could not detect a pulse and the male was not breathing. Without hesitation, Deputy Ochoa began CPR and continued until Los Angeles County Fire arrived and he was relieved by paramedics.
Upon arrival, it appeared the victim’s condition was grave, yet Deputy Ochoa’s instinctive reaction to provide lifesaving efforts ultimately saved his life.
DEPUTY MARCO VALDOVINOS-OCHOA
TWIN TOWERS CORRECTIONAL FACILITY
On June 29, 2015, Deputy Valdovinos-Ochoa, assigned to Twin Towers Correctional Facility, was escorting an inmate from the shower stall back to his cell. Without warning, the inmate climbed over the railing and attempted to jump off the upper tier, a fall of 15 feet to the concrete floor below. Deputy Valdovinos-Ochoa rushed over and quickly grabbed the inmate’s right arm, controlling his movement and preventing him from jumping. The inmate was pulled back over the railing to safety.
Without the immediate intervention of Deputy Valdovinos-Ochoa, the inmate would have surely committed suicide.
DEPUTY KYLE A. ANDERSEN
DEPUTY DOUGLAS J. ORT
On May 20, 2014, Deputies Andersen and Ort, assigned to Walnut Station, responded to a medical rescue call of an elderly male who was choking. When they arrived on scene, the male was unresponsive and no pulse could be detected. Deputies Andersen and Ort immediately started CPR and continued their efforts for approximately five minutes before the male resumed breathing. Los Angeles County Fire paramedics arrived, treated the victim and transported him to the hospital.
Deputies Andersen and Ort’s quick response in a dire emergency was instrumental in saving the life of the elderly male.
DEPUTY HECTOR H. ESTRELLA-SOTO
DEPUTY VICTOR H. PELAYO-OSORIO
DEPUTY MYRON L. TRIMBLE
TWIN TOWERS CORRECTIONAL FACILITY
On May 9, 2015, Deputies Estrella-Soto, Pelayo-Osorio and Trimble, assigned to Twin Towers Correctional Facility, were performing inmate checks. Deputy Estrella-Soto noticed an inmate hanging by the neck inside a cell. The three deputies responded to the cell and Deputy Estrella-Soto cut the cloth from the inmate’s neck and they lowered him to the ground. The inmate had hung himself using a strip from his gown. He was unconscious, had a shallow pulse and labored breathing. The deputies administered first aid and ensured the inmate’s airway remained open. A nurse team arrived, stabilized the inmate and transported him for medical care.
The entire event was captured on video, including the inmate testing the clothing he used to hang himself. There is no doubt that without the immediate response of these deputies, the inmate’s suicide attempt would have been successful.
DEPUTY CLARISSA J. TORRES
TWIN TOWERS CORRECTIONAL FACILITY
On June 22, 2015, Twin Towers Correctional Facility personnel were tending to mentally ill inmates out of cell time for group therapy. An inmate told Deputy Torres that he wanted to participate in the group therapy. Deputy Torres opened the cell door and directed the inmate toward the session. As the inmate neared the stairs, he climbed head first over the railing and began to lunge forward, attempting to jump off the upper tier. Deputy Torres quickly reacted by grabbing the inmate’s wrist as he let go of the railing. She was able to hold onto the inmate until deputy personnel responded and assisted her by grabbing the inmate and safely lowering him to the floor. The inmate was uninjured and placed in the care of mental observation.
Without the immediate intervention of Deputy Torres, the inmate would have suffered great bodily injury, or possibly death.
DEPUTY HERMAN M. AREVALO
CENTURY REGIONAL DETENTION FACILITY
On July 26, 2015, Deputy Arevalo, assigned to Century Regional Detention Facility, was providing security during dinner when several inmates called his attention. He noticed an inmate waving her arms in a panic. As he made his way towards her, he saw she was grabbing at her throat and it became apparent she was choking. Deputy Arevalo positioned himself behind the choking inmate to perform the Heimlich maneuver. He repeated his efforts for approximately two to three minutes. The inmate was on the verge of passing out when a piece of carrot was dislodged from her throat. She then began to cough and breathe on her own.
Deputy Arevalo’s decisive and vigilant efforts undoubtedly saved the inmate’s life.
DEPUTY GINGER T. MATSON
DEPUTY ADRIANA ROJAS
On August 15, 2015, Deputies Matson and Rojas, assigned to Lakewood Station, responded to a 911 call indicating that a female had given birth in the restroom of an apartment. Upon birth, the infant had fallen into the toilet, head first, and was submerged in water. Family members found the infant was not breathing and unresponsive. Deputy Rojas immediately took hold of the infant. She cleared his airway and, with the assistance of Deputy Matson, stimulated the infant by rubbing his chest, until he began to breathe. Los Angeles County Fire paramedics arrived and took over first aid. The infant and mom were transported to the hospital and recovered completely.
Deputies Matson and Rojas’ lifesaving efforts were instrumental in saving the infant’s life.
DEPUTY ANTHONY M. LEDESMA
DEPUTY LAI PONG (ERIC) TUNG
DEPUTY MARIA N. URENA
On September 1, 2015, Deputies Ledesma and Urena, assigned to Temple Station, were patrolling the South San Gabriel area when they were approached by a visibly upset female. She told them that she and her son had been in an argument and that during the argument, her son told her that he hated her and that he will see her in the next life. She informed the deputies that her son had attempted suicide in the past and was on medication. She also said she feared her son was going to a 60 Freeway overpass to commit suicide.
Deputies Ledesma and Urena immediately drove to the Paramount Boulevard and 60 Freeway overpass in the city of Montebello. When they arrived, they saw the male sitting on top of the overpass barrier fence. Deputy Ledesma immediately requested assistance over his radio. Deputies Ledesma and Urena began talking with the male, asking him to get down from the fence. The male refused, stating he wanted to jump. He repeatedly made these statements while contemplating suicide.
Deputy Tung arrived on scene and joined in talking to the male. The deputies continued to engage the male in conversation, emphasizing how much his mother loved him and how much his entire family loved and cared for him. After several minutes, the male voluntarily climbed down from the fence. Montebello Fire Department arrived to provide aid to the male and he was transported to the hospital for mental health evaluation.
Deputies Ledesma, Tung and Urena took quick action responding to the concerns of a distraught mother. Their proactive approach to quickly build a rapport and trust with the distressed male are commendable.
DEPUTY ERIK NAVA
On the evening of November 16, 2015, Deputy Erik Nava, assigned to Industry Station, responded to the vehicle of a frantic mother who had pulled to the side of the road and reported her seven month old baby was not breathing. Deputy Nava found the baby strapped in the vehicle’s car seat and was pale, limp and lifeless. Deputy Nava quickly assessed the infant’s condition, checking his airway. He immediately began CPR and continued until he saw the infant’s chest rise. After approximately three to four minutes, the infant was able to take breaths on his own and regained his color. LA County Fire paramedics arrived on scene and the infant was transported to the hospital.
It was learned that the infant had significant pre-existing medical challenges. Doctors and paramedics stated that Deputy Nava’s immediate and appropriate lifesaving measures were instrumental and the infant would not have survived without his lifesaving efforts.
DEPUTY ROBERT C. HAWKINS
DEPUTY JASON A. VIGER
In the early hours of October 31, 2015, Deputies Hawkins and Viger, assigned to Palmdale Station, responded to an assault with a deadly weapon call. Upon their arrival, they found the victim on the ground bleeding profusely from a large laceration on his arm. They immediately applied a tourniquet just above his elbow. Once the bleeding slowed considerably, the deputies packed the wound with gauze and wrapped it with a compression bandage. Los Angeles County Fire arrived shortly after, providing additional emergent aid to the victim and transporting him to the hospital.
The Chief of Surgery and Trauma Director of Antelope Valley Hospital wrote a letter commending Deputies Hawkins and Viger, stating their emergency medical treatment saved the life of the victim.
DEPUTY NAOMI M. CABRERA
DEPUTY KELLY J. PHILLIPS
On June 2, 2015, Deputy Cabrera, assigned to Lomita Station, answered a 911 phone call from a distraught man who stated he wanted to kill himself by jumping off the cliffs of Palos Verdes. Deputy Cabrera remained calm as she sought to reassure the caller. The male identified himself as “Alan” and wept as he cried that he didn’t know what to do before disconnecting the phone call. Knowing that she had to act quickly, Deputy Cabrera immediately contacted AT&T in an effort to “ping” the location of the male’s cellphone. They were able to locate the cellphone within 1700 meters of the Pointe Vicente Lighthouse and the location was relayed to deputies in the field.
Once in the area, Deputy Kelly Phillips began scanning the cliff side near the pedestrian walkway. She discovered the distraught male standing on a ledge. Deputy Phillips calmly initiated a dialogue with the suicidal man. After approximately twenty minutes, she was able to establish a rapport and gain the male’s confidence. Deputy Phillips convinced the man to walk back toward the guard rail where she assisted him to safety. Paramedics arrived shortly after and treated the male.
Deputies Cabrera and Phillips’ quick actions and team efforts enabled the suicidal man to be located. If not for their diligence and compassion, this outcome may have been tragic.
DEPUTY DAVID A. NISENOFF
On the evening of Christmas Eve 2012, Deputy David Nisenoff, assigned to Palmdale Station, responded to a person not breathing call. It was learned that the husband had left his wife, who was sick with pneumonia, for a short time to pick up some necessary items from the store. When he returned, he found his wife unresponsive and his nine-year old son had called 911. The husband had already begun CPR and was joined by Deputy Nisenoff upon his arrival. Deputy Nisenoff began chest compressions while the husband administered rescue breathing to his wife. Los Angeles County Fire paramedics arrived and transported the victim for medical care.
Upon the victim’s entry into the hospital, the attending physician estimated a five percent chance of survival, while neurologist warned that if she did survive, she may remain in a vegetative state. After an extended stay in the hospital, the victim made a full physical and mental recovery with the exception of the loss of her fingertips due to oxygen deprivation.
The Los Angeles County Fire captain that day advised the victim had been in full cardiac arrest and the administration of CPR by Deputy Nisenoff and the husband likely saved the victim’s life.
The victim’s husband called Palmdale Station to thank and commend Deputy Nisenoff for helping save his wife’s life, stating, “Deputy Nisenoff helped keep me stable. He was really the key factor in helping save her life and her mental capacity.”
DEPUTY ROBERTO SOLORIO JR.
On April 24, 2015, the staff of Flery Resurrection Home were taking some special needs patients out for a daily walk to San Martin Park in the city of Lakewood. During the outing, one of the patients began choking and had difficulty breathing. Deputy Solorio responded to the park and found the victim unconscious on the ground. His skin was turning a bluish discoloration because he was not breathing and did not have a pulse. Deputy Solorio checked the victim’s airway and found food lodged in his throat. He cleared the airway and performed CPR, bringing his heartbeat and breathing back. Los Angeles County Fire personnel arrived and took over CPR. The victim was transported to the hospital in critical condition.
The Los Angeles Fire captain in charge that day called Lakewood Station to commend Deputy Solorio on his performance, stating he personally observed Deputy Solorio performing proper chest compressions on the victim and credits his efforts with saving the life of the victim.
DEPUTY ELIJAH J. GOFFIGAN
DEPUTY ERIK M. RIDDLE
On July 24, 2015, Deputies Goffigan and Riddle, assigned to Lancaster Station, responded to a roadway intersection regarding a woman found lying on the ground. Upon their arrival, they observed a female suspended from the open doorway of a vehicle parked along the curb line. Witnesses informed the deputies they had found the woman hanging from the passenger door with her head wedged between the open window and the inside door frame. It appeared she had some type of medical emergency and then collapsed as she tried to exit the vehicle. The position she landed cut off her air supply causing her to suffocate. Deputies Goffigan and Riddle recognized the female had no pulse, was not breathing and her pupils were dilated. They immediately began CPR and were able to revive the woman’s heartbeat and respiration. Los Angeles County Fire paramedics arrived and took over medical care and transported the female to the hospital in critical condition.
Hospital medical staff advised the female had suffered a series of strokes, which likely caused her to fall into the precarious position the deputies found her in. The situation was exacerbated by her inability to breathe or free herself from the car.
Los Angeles County Fire captain in charge that day called Lancaster Station to commend the deputies for their actions and relayed the female’s life was saved as a direct result of their efforts.
DEPUTY JOSEPH L. NUNEZ
On December 10, 2014, Deputy Nunez, assigned to Temple Station, responded to a possible traffic collision call. Upon arriving at the corner of Temple City and Valley Boulevard, Deputy Nunez observed a male laying in the street. He quickly assessed the male and determined he was not breathing and immediately began CPR until paramedics arrived. The male regained a pulse while en route to the hospital after twenty minutes of persistent lifesaving measures. It was later learned that the male had fallen off his bicycle and had been observed by a citizen to be shaking prior to falling on the ground.
Deputy Nunez did not hesitate to help a citizen in need and his quick action aided in saving the male’s life.
DEPUTY RICHARD P. FAULK
DEPUTY KENNETH A. CIANCIOSI
DEPUTY JEFFREY B. JOHNSON
DEPUTY GEORGE A. PEREZ
K-9, TRANSIT POLICING DIVISION
On the afternoon of December 8, 2014, Deputy Faulk, a K-9 handler, and his partner Clyde were on patrol at Union Station. He was notified by a patron that a male was on the Gold Line tracks attempting to kill himself by jumping in front of an oncoming train. Deputy Faulk and Clyde responded to the location, and when the young man saw them, he ran away toward the train trestle. Deputy Faulk immediately called for backup and ordered the shutdown of the 101 Freeway in case the man attempted to jump. Deputies Cianciosi, Johnson and Perez responded to the train tracks to assist Deputy Faulk. Seeing that the man was now hanging by his fingertips from the bridge, the deputies decided to approach him. They collectively reached under the concrete barrier and pulled the male up to safety.
The deputies reacted as a team to save the man’s life and all played crucial roles in preventing the male from successfully ending his own life.
DEPUTY DAVID L. JOHNSON
HUMAN TRAFFICKING BUREAU
On March 16, 2014, Deputy Johnson, assigned to Human Trafficking Bureau, was enjoying a family vacation aboard a Carnival Cruise ship. Deputy Johnson was on the observation deck looking over the water when he was approached from behind by an individual, later identified as “Edgar.” He began speaking to Deputy Johnson, asking if he had any children. Edgar said he had children of his own and would do anything for them, and continued making unusual statements. Edgar told Deputy Johnson to tell his children that he loved them. He said that he just killed someone and did not want to go to jail. Edgar moved to the edge and was looking over the side of the ship. Deputy Johnson noticed that Edgar was wearing only his boxer shorts and socks and his hands were covered in blood. Deputy Johnson asked Edgar what happened and he responded with several different versions. Edgar was not making any sense and appeared to be under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
Deputy Johnson tried to get Edgar to walk to the medical center, but he refused. Several pages over the loud speaker for Edgar were heard. Deputy Johnson was three to four feet away from Edgar and continued to make conversation to keep him from jumping off the ship.
After approximately twenty minutes, a crew member walked by and shined a light on both. Edgar said they were coming for him, jumped up and sat on the rail facing Deputy Johnson. He was now sitting on the rail that hung over the side of the ship, approximately eleven stories above the water. Deputy Johnson told Edgar to get down, but Edgar said he couldn’t let them take him and then positioned his feet as if preparing to jump. Deputy Johnson was prepared to grab Edgar if he tried to jump.
Security approached and called to Edgar. Edgar turned to the side, leaned over and began to fall off the ship. Deputy Johnson immediately reached for Edgar and grabbed him around his waist as he started to go over the side. Security came up from behind and grabbed his legs and they all pulled Edgar to safety.
Deputy Johnson assisted in restraining Edgar when he became extremely combative in an effort to escape. He continued talking to Edgar and was able to calm him down, however, while en route to the brig, Edgar slipped out of his cuffs and again began resisting until he was ultimately handcuffed again.
Deputy Johnson’s unwavering efforts, tenacity and bravery without a doubt were remarkable and truly commendable.
DEPUTY THOMAS J. LYNCH
DEPUTY RONALD C. NOHLES
MARINA DEL REY STATION
CAPTAIN ERIK NELSON
LIFEGUARD THOMAS DOMAN JR.
LIFEGUARD COLBY TRIVETTE
LIFEGUARD WILLIAM WILSON
LOS ANGELES COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT
LIEUTENANT COMMANDER BRYAN COFFMAN
CO-PILOT LIEUTENANT JOSEPH HEAL
AVIONICS MECHANIC OLPAKA HELEPOLOEI
AVIONICS SURVIVAL TECHNICIAN RICHARD HOEFLE
UNITED STATES COAST GUARD
On October 7, 2015, Deputies Lynch and Nohles, assigned to Marina Del Rey Station, responded to an emergent call of a scuba diver having difficulty breathing and bleeding from his mouth and nose. Deputies met with the victim’s boat and dive crew members, a half mile south of Marina Del Rey. Los Angeles County Fire Department Captain Nelson and Lifeguards Doman, Trivette and Wilson arrived shortly after. Upon arriving, deputies transferred the diver onto their patrol boat. He was unconscious with no pulse. Deputy Nohles started CPR while lifeguards removed the diver’s gear and wetsuit. Approximately 45 seconds later, the diver began to breathe on his own. Deputy Nohles and the lifeguards continued lifesaving efforts while Deputy Lynch began driving their boat at maximum speed to Catalina Island.
Due to the nature of this situation, a United States Coast Guard helicopter was requested to transport the victim quicker, consisting of Pilot Lieutenant Commander Coffman, Co-Pilot Lieutenant Heal, Avionics Mechanic Helepoloei and Avionics Survival Technician Hoefle. Utilizing a technique practiced countless times with Sheriff personnel and lifeguard patrol boats, the helicopter crew skillfully matched the speed of the patrol boat as it flew approximately thirty feet overhead. A rescue basket was lowered onto the deck and held at position as Deputy Nohles and the lifeguards loaded the victim into the basket. The victim was hoisted from the deck of the patrol boat onto the helicopter where he was flown to the island. While receiving treatment, the victim regained consciousness.
Following the rescue, Los Angeles County Fire Department Chief Fernando Boiteux personally visited Marina Del Rey Station to commend Deputies Nohles and Lynch for saving the victim’s life. If not for the collaborative efforts, skill and brave actions of the deputies, lifeguards and United States Coast Guard crew, the victim almost certainly would not have survived the incident.
(c)2016 LASD | SCVTV
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