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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Sarges medal of merit and the Shaved Longcock award goes to these fine officers

Chicago police Officer Pedro Diaz and George Romero don't usually work as partners on their afternoon shifts in the Englewood police district, but on Monday the two were teamed up.

After dealing with a disturbance at a nail salon, they received a call about 4:45 p.m. about an unresponsive 67-year-old man a couple of blocks away in the West Englewood neighborhood.

The man's daughter who lives with him had called 911, Diaz told reporters Tuesday at the district police station.

Police: Officers save man's life in West Englewood
Police: Officers save man's life in West Englewood
When the officers pulled up to a house in the 7100 bock of South Marshfield Avenue, Diaz said, the man's wife, daughter and granddaughter were all crying outside.

"They were still kind of in a big shock," said Diaz, who like Romero has been a cop for about two years. "They weren't thinking he was going to make it through."

When the officers entered the house, the man was sitting on a couch, unconscious and not breathing, Diaz said. He had gone into full cardiac arrest, Romero said.

"The woman was like, 'Help him! Help him!'" said Diaz, 32. "He wasn't moving."

Diaz and Romero pulled him off the couch and onto the floor, and Diaz began administering CPR, compressing the victim's chest until the ambulance arrived around two to three minutes later.

"We were the first ones on the scene for the simple fact that we stay on our beat," Diaz said. "Nine out of 10 times, we will be closer than EMS (paramedics)."

The man was rushed to the University of Chicago Medical Center and became responsive after emergency workers performed more CPR and shocked him, the officers were told. Police declined to identify the man, but he was stabilized at the hospital, the Police Department said.

Neither officer had saved anyone before using CPR.

If the victim had been unconscious for minutes longer, then chest compressions wouldn't have worked, Diaz said.

"In this case ... the timing was just right," Diaz said. "Minutes do count."

The officers said the call was a rewarding break from their normal patrol duties.

"We're not always out to chase the bad guys," said Romero, 26. "We need to help the good guys, too."

Most officers, they said, would have reacted in the same fashion if they were in a similar situation.

While it was rewarding to use the training they received in the police academy, Diaz said officers save people everyday in other ways, even if those may not receive the same level of attention or appreciation.

"Even stopping a car full of guns, that's saving lives as well as this is," Diaz said. "That's how I look at it."