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Everyday heroes

An unusual rescue for Memorial's Campus and Enforcement Patrol

Campus and Community

By Rebecca Rebeiro

CEP officers usually have pretty routine days, but one Tuesday in October was anything but ordinary for members of Memorial’s security team.

Officer Sean Ford was performing his regular duties that morning, patrolling the south side of campus. Meanwhile, shift supervisor Terry Gilbert was leaving the Faculty of Medicine after picking up the mail and having a chat with the officer on duty, Robert Hayes.

From left are officers Sean Ford, Adam Brookings, Melanie Mullett, Robert Hayes and Marsha Hackett.
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

Just around the corner, parking officers Melanie Mullett and Adam Brookings were checking permits and writing up tickets.

That’s when the unexpected happened.

“When the call came in, I looked at the officer on the other side of me and said, ‘Did he just say a car rolled over?’” said Officer Ford.

On his way back to the CEP office, Officer Hayes looked out the atrium windows in the medical school building and saw a car veer off the road into the river next to Long Pond below.

“It was then we realized he wasn’t breathing.” — Officer Sean Ford

In a few minutes, officers Hayes, Gilbert, Mullett, Brookings and Ford, along with Marsha Hackett, were on the scene.

“When we got there, we really had no idea what happened, other than the fact that the car was in the river,” said Officer Ford. “We quickly realized the driver’s feet were jammed under the pedals and that he wasn’t coming out the driver’s door, so two guys went down in the water to un-jam his feet and we got him out through the passenger side back door. It was then we realized he wasn’t breathing.”

Once they pulled the unresponsive man out of the car, Officer Ford started CPR.

Right place at the right time

Another officer set up a face mask for him to go straight into rescue breaths.

By the third compression, paramedics had arrived and took over. Officer Ford, who has been with CEP for little over a year, thanks his recent first aid training session by a fellow officer for his quick response.

“Everything happened within nine-and-a-half minutes, from the car going into the water to when paramedics drove away. But it felt like an eternity. It’s just lucky that everyone was where they were at the time,” he said.

Thanks to the officers’ quick actions, the driver survived.

A day in the life

When asked about his normal routine, Officer Ford reflects back to that Tuesday morning where he distinctly remembers thinking “this is going to be another slow day.”

Usually, his day consists of access requests, general patrol and, more often than not, the classic “I got locked out of my office” calls.

“As far as universities go, Memorial is a very low-risk campus. And I guess it’s a good reflection on us because over the years we’ve done a good job of being a deterrent on campus,” said Officer Ford.

As the officers continue with their day-to-day operations, CEP’s assistant manager, Fred Rideout, believes the campus is “very fortunate to have dedicated and professional men and women who take pride in representing Memorial University.”

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