Metro Atlanta officers go beyond the call of duty to help others, save lives

Credit: Powder Springs police

Credit: Powder Springs police

The runner had collapsed on the Silver Comet Trail and wasn’t breathing.

Powder Springs Officer Carson Yates responded quickly and performed CPR until paramedics arrived. Seconds later, the 51-year-old man regained his pulse. Then his eyes opened and he asked what had happened.

“Without a doubt, if it was not for the quick actions of the citizens on the trail who immediately began taking care of this stranger, and the endurance of Officer Yates, the Silver Comet would have claimed another life,” the Powder Springs department said after the Oct. 29 incident.

Raised in Powder Springs, Yates graduated from the city’s police department academy about a year ago.

“I wasn’t even thinking about me being tired,” said Yates, who performed CPR on the man for nearly 10 minutes and recalled the relief he felt when he saw the color come back into his face. “That made me want to fight more.”

Honored at a recent Powder Springs city council meeting, Yates is among area first responders metro Atlantans are feeling thankful for this holiday season.

“To get into the Thanksgiving spirit, over the last few weeks we’ve been popping into local elementary schools to serve up some delicious meals with all the fixings,” the Roswell Police Department posted the day before Thanksgiving. “No one slings turkey and mashed potatoes quite like this team.”

In Atlanta, a family was able to celebrate the holiday season thanks to the quick action of Officer Robert Oden. A veteran officer and SWAT team member, he typically responds to calls involving barricaded gunmen or hostages. Such calls don’t often involve happy endings.

A May 13 incident ended joyously, though. While patrolling along Martin Luther King Boulevard, Oden saw a car with hazard lights on and the horn blaring, so he followed it into the parking lot of a fire station.

Credit: Atlanta police

Credit: Atlanta police

“He’s not breathing!” a woman yelled as Oden got out of his car.

Oden radioed for help and checked for the baby’s pulse, but couldn’t find one. Using just his thumb and fingers, Oden began CPR.

“At that point, I felt like we were getting somewhere with it,” Oden said.

The 4-month-old boy was breathing on his own when paramedics arrived. At the hospital, doctors determined the baby had suffered a brain injury after rolling off a bed, Oden said.

After emergency surgery, the baby’s mother called Oden, who later visited the family. Since then, he’s kept in touch with the family and says the little boy is thriving. The father of a 19-year-old and 12-year-old, Oden says he now gets weekly updates on the baby he saved.

“It’s definitely one of the better stories I’ve ever had,” he said.

Credit: Marietta police

Credit: Marietta police

Marietta Senior Police Officer Lee Greene was patrolling in July when he encountered elderly man lying on the ground in a parking lot. He had slurred speech and dried blood on his hands. Instead of simply calling paramedics, Greene was able to reach a family member and learned the man had Alzheimer’s disease and other medical conditions.

Greene was able to find the man’s car, unlocked, on Cobb Parkway. Greene made sure the man and his belongings, including his wallet, were safe until a family member arrived.

Greene often reaches out to homeless people, interacting with them to learn about their situations. He shares local resources available and offers to help if they’re willing to accept it. Recently, he helped get a 54-year-old grandfather off of the street and into a facility to get help for drug addiction.

“Officer Greene personally drove the male to the facility and walked him in (per his request) so he wouldn’t get cold feet,” Sgt. Jared Rakestraw wrote in a letter to Marietta Police Chief Marty Ferrell. “Once inside, Officer Greene continued to assist the male with all of the entry and processing paperwork. Officer Greene even took time to pray with the male.”

Greene is also known to repaint areas marked with graffiti.

“He’s a class act,” Rakestraw said. “When he’s out there, it’s like what can he do to go above and beyond all the time.”

Credit: Paulding County Sheriff's Office

Credit: Paulding County Sheriff's Office

One county over, Paulding County Deputy Zackery Dubreuiel was conducting a traffic stop on Sept. 30 when a driver pulled up with an emergency.

Parents told Dubreuiel their baby was unconscious and not breathing and handed over the tiny limp body. Dubreuiel first attempted to rub the child’s sternum and started CPR after not getting a response. Paramedics soon arrived and the child’s pulse returned.

Dubreuiel, who has served with the Paulding sheriff’s office for nearly two years, was recognized for his efforts at a commission meeting.

“I am so thankful that Deputy Dubreuiel was in the right place that night,” Paulding Sheriff Gary Gulledge said. “Because of his quick, decisive actions, Deputy Dubreuiel saved the life of that infant child. I am so proud of him.”

Credit: Atlanta police

Credit: Atlanta police

On Oct. 31, a man wearing clothes that didn’t fit prompted a report of “public indecency” to 911, according to Atlanta police.

But Officer Johnny Nguyen realized it wasn’t the time to issue the man a citation. He needed clothes that fit and didn’t expose his body. Nguyen, a field training officer, helped the man and used it as a teaching moment while working alongside a newly sworn officer.

Nguyen made a trip to a local Walmart and purchased clothes and shoes for the man, who was very grateful for the assistance.

“We could not be prouder of Officer Nguyen,” Atlanta police said. “He demonstrated not only his professional training, but innate compassion and concern for a fellow human being. We are fortunate to have Ofc. Nguyen and a cadre of officers, supervisors and commanders who dedicate their lives to public safety, put their lives on the line to fight crime, and who also care about the community they serve. Job well done!”