Officers Ryan Wagner and Ben Davis receiving the Lifesaving Award from the Maine Association of Police. Last spring, the officers helped rescue an individual from a suicide attempt. Police Chief Paul Fenton said that he’s “proud but not shocked” of their heroic work. Courtesy Cape Elizabeth Police Department

CAPE ELIZABETH — On Jan. 25, Police Officers Ryan Wagner and Ben Davis were recognized with a Maine Association of Police Lifesaving Award after they rescued a person who had attempted suicide last spring.

Davis and Wagner said that they were surprised to have been nominated for the award, which they received during the MAP annual ceremony.

The MAP is a union representation of the police, said Chief Paul Fenton, who had proudly nominated the two officers.

Last spring, while Wagner was on patrol, he said that he saw a car parked “where it shouldn’t have been” and thought that the person inside could have been sleeping. When he investigated, he realized the person needed help.

“He was not very responsive and I realized he was having some sort of issue,” said Wagner. “We found out later that he was committing suicide.”

While waiting for EMS services to arrive, Wagner and Davis were able to administer medical care in attempt to keep the person alert and conscious, said Wagner.

“Fortunately, the week before I’d just finished the EMT class,” he said. “All of us at Cape Elizabeth are cross-trained as EMTs.

“Officer Davis did a great job as well,” he added. “He’s a very confident officer and is very level-headed. I lucked out having him as a partner.”

Davis said that without the EMT training, the two would have had to wait for EMS to arrive before help could be administered.

“As a whole it’s definitely a plus,” said Wagner. “We’ll arrive before the EMS get there. Those couple of minutes can make a big difference.”

Fenton agreed, saying, “It also illustrates the great working relationship we have with the fire and rescue departments. All of our officers are EMT certified. In an emergency, every second can feel like hours.”

The award is a way for the public to recognize the work that Fenton sees his officers do on a daily basis, he said.

“It was a tragedy averted,” he said. “Our job provides us a unique opportunity to impact people’s lives. The officers take this very seriously, and this is a perfect example. This happened in the wee hours of the morning.”

While Wagner and Davis may be surprised about the attention, Fenton said he wants the public to see what a difference the police department is making.

“This reinvigorates the hard work they’re doing,” he said. “I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

He said that the public’s image of the police becomes more negative through the stories that are shared across the country, but the Cape Elizabeth community has a great relationship with the department, and the officers are hardworking and dedicated to keeping residents safe.

“To them, it’s just doing their job,” said Fenton. “They kind of shy away from the attention and the award, but it’s important for what the community sees.”

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: