Cape Elizabeth Police Officers Ryan Wagner and Ben Davis were recognized at the Maine Association of Police annual banquet on Jan. 25 at the Elks Lodge in Portland for their life-saving efforts. Courtesy / Cape Elizabeth Police Departments

CAPE ELIZABETH — What started as a routine police patrol ended with a life being saved and honors for two of Cape Elizabeth’s finest.

Officers Ryan Wagner and Ben Davis were lauded at the Maine Association of Police annual banquet, held Jan. 25 at the Elks Lodge in Portland, for administering medical care to a man last May.

In retelling the story, Wagner recalled that as part of his standard patrol he was droving down Two Lights Road in the early hours of the morning when he noticed a vehicle with an out-of-state license plate parked by the side of the road.

“You never know, so you have to check it out,” he said.

Wagner’s instincts were spot on: The man in the car was not there to catch up on some sleep; Wagner said he appeared very disoriented, foaming at the mouth and convulsing. He clearly needed medical attention.

“At that moment, I actually thought he was having a seizure,” Wagner said.

Officers would discover the symptoms were caused by ingesting an excessive number of sleeping pills. Public safety personnel later learned the motorist had driven to the Maine coast from New Hampshire to attempt to take his own life.

Wagner called for backup; Officer Ben Davis was quickly on scene and the two administered sternum rubs and provided medical care. Paramedics then arrived and took over.

“Rescue had brought him to the hospital and we went through his car and discovered multiple bottles of pills,” Davis said.

After a search for paperwork in the car and some quick investigative work, Davis was able to contact the man’s roommate in New Hampshire and get information on his family. Davis followed up at Maine Medical Center, where the man received treatment for several weeks.

“It is a rare occurrence for people to be able to say that their actions literally saved a life and, in this case, that is exactly what happened,” said Police Chief Paul Fenton in an email.

“One good thing about our department is that we are all EMTs, and they give us great training,” Davis said. “Your training really kicks in and you don’t have time to think and process it at the moment.”

It was the first commendation for both officers. Wagner has worked for the Cape Elizabeth Police Department for two years, and prior to that worked for the police department in Farmington. Davis has worked in Cape Elizabeth for nine years.

Wagner and Davis said they got into the profession because they wanted to make a positive impact. As police officers, they never know where the shift will take them. It’s part of the appeal of the job, as it’s not the same old routine every day, they said, but they also have to deal with some difficult or challenging situations.

Wagner and Davis both said they feel fortunate to work in the Cape Elizabeth Police Department, where, they said, both the department and the town are incredibly supportive.

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