Two Purdue University Police officers were awarded for saving a student’s life, and five officers were sworn in at an awards ceremony Tuesday.
Deputy Chief Lesley Wiete beamed while giving officers Matthew Williams and Andrew LePard the Lifesaving, Valor and Chief’s awards.
The two night shift officers were dispatched to Purdue Village last month to a report of a male student that had fallen and hit his head, Chief John Cox said.
“(LePard and I) didn’t know the situation we were going in,” Williams said. “We get there and assess him. He’s not breathing, so our training just kicks in, and we don’t have much to think about other than saving that person’s life.”
Once the student’s pulse weakened, the officers administered chest compressions and Williams used an automated external defibrillator to shock the student before the Purdue Fire Department and an ambulance came to take him to the hospital, Cox said.
One month later, on the day of the award ceremony, the student was released from the hospital, Cox said.
“We recently got some information on the way we could make contact with him,” Williams said. “So we plan to do that soon.”
Purdue President Mitch Daniels came to the event to cheer for the officers.
The awards for the officers were richly deserved; as scary as the situation sounded, Williams and LePard were very matter-of-fact about it, Daniels said.
Cox said he didn’t even hear about the event from the officers but from members of PUFD who were on the scene.
Williams and LePard join a handful of PUPD officers with a Lifesaving award, Cox said.
Five officers were sworn in after the award ceremony, marking the largest class in recent history, Capt. Song Kang said.
The large class, normally between one and two officers, Kang said, follows the decision to increase the number of officers to keep up with the growth of campus.
Carol Shelby, senior director of environmental health and public safety, swore in officers Chandler Cahoon, Chad Runk, Zach Waltz, McKenzie Wagner and Anna Saylor.
This is also the first time five already certified officers were sworn in at once, Cox said. Officers that come to PUPD already certified are those that come from other police departments in Indiana, so they don’t need additional training besides learning the names of campus buildings and the “Purdue way,” Kang said.
PUPD shouldn’t be taken for granted, Daniels said. Purdue is one of the only universities in the Big Ten with its own police department, and that allows officers be more attuned to student needs.