On August 8, 2020, a vehicle with five passengers, four of them juveniles, lost control and crashed into the overflow canal of the Jordan River. The driver and two passengers escaped, but one 14-year-old boy and a two-year-old girl were trapped in the vehicle, which was overturned and sinking.
Officers Nichols, Knapp, Nielsen, Johnson and Smith jumped into the water and dove under the surface, attempting to locate the trapped juveniles inside the car. Officer Smith located the 14-year-old and helped get him to shore where Officer Melycher pulled him out of the water. Officer Smith assisted with CPR until relieved by paramedics.
Officers Dunbar, Thomas, Melycher, Hargrove, Sackett, and Telles also jumped into the water as they arrived and attempted to find the wto-year-old and then hold the car back as it continued to slide farther into the water. They helped tie a rope onto the vehicle that was then secured to shore. Paramedics with scuba gear were ultimately able to locate the two-year-old. Each of these officers entered the water at great personal risk, in the dark, to try to rescue the two passengers. They struggled against the weight of the vehicle and lack of traction on the muddy floor of the river without protective gear. When paramedics arrived, they remained in the water to assist in the recovery effort. The 14-year-old and two-year-old both later died. This, however, does not diminish the effort made and risks taken by the officers in the rescue effort.
For their actions on August 8, 2020, former Officer Kristopher Smith, former Officer Brandon Johnson, former Officer Doug Dunbar, Detective Christopher Nielsen, Detective Nicholas Telles, Officer Wyatt Sackett, Officer Randi Thomas, Officer Michael Melycher, Officer Miles Knapp, Officer Darren Nichols, and Officer Aaron Hargrove are hereby awarded the Police Medal of Valor.
On May 30, 2019, Officers Gaskins, former SLCPD Officer Nold, and Officer Scott responded to a location near Sherwood Park after receiving information that a Marine veteran was inside a garage attempting to kill himself by carbon monoxide asphyxiation. When the three officers arrived, they could detect the odor of vehicle exhaust coming from inside the locked garage. Through a window, former Officer Nold observed a male inside a running vehicle and communicated this to Officers Gaskin and Officer Scott. Understanding the need to take decisive and immediate action to prevent death, Officer Scott kicked open the locked door. The three officers used outstanding skills to safely pull the semi-conscious person from the vehicle and outside of the garage. Paramedics transported the subject to the hospital where he received necessary life-saving medical treatment. The actions of Officers Scott, Gaskins and Nold demonstrated their character, courage, commitment to our community, and compassion and reflect the superior caliber of officers of this department.
For their dedication and compassion which resulted in the saving of another’s life, Officer Jeremy Gaskins, former Officer Zachary Nold, Officer Brendyn Scott are hereby award the Police Lifesaving Award.
On April 20, 2019, Officer Knapp and former SLCPD Officer Bentley received information about an individual in crisis who accessed a high-rise apartment balcony in downtown near the County Government Center. A witness reported the subject jumping from balcony to balcony. The two officers arrived and found the subject on a fifth-floor balcony, standing on the railing looking out and holding the ledge above. A resident of the apartment complex allowed former Officer Bentley and Officer Knapp access inside her apartment so they could safely contact the subject. When the subject saw former Officer Bentley, he let go of the ledge. Officer Bentley’s quick action likely kept the man from falling. With the help of Officer Knapp, the person was then taken safely into custody despite significant physical resistance. He was then transported to UMED for an evaluation.
For their actions on April 20, 2019, Officer Knapp and former SLCPD Officer Bentley are hereby awarded the Police Lifesaving Award.
On May 12, 2019, Detective Telles responded to a location near Riverside Park to help with a home invasion robbery. Upon arrival, Detective Telles located the victim with a severe gunshot wound to the arm. Detective Telles was the first responding officer and calmly began assessing the injuries and applied a tourniquet to the victim’s arm while also attempting to obtain critical information concerning the suspects. The bleeding was controlled by the application of the tourniquet and medical personnel credited the application of the tourniquet to saving the victim’s life.
For his actions on May 12, 2019, Detective Telles is hereby awarded the Police Lifesaving Award.